Medical Monday: Glaucoma Awareness Month

Published: Jan. 31, 2023 at 4:04 PM EST
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PRESQUE ISLE, Maine (WAGM) - January is Glaucoma Awareness month. So Dr.’s are using it to encourage people to focus on eye health.

Glaucoma is a condition that damages your eye’s optic nerve, typically through a build up of pressure that can lead to permanent vision loss, according to Wedmd. It is recommended people start having an eye exam by the age of 40. These screenings can help with early detection. Dr. Francinia McCartney, Comprehensive Ophthalmologist at Northern Light AR Gould explains the warning signs of glaucoma.

Dr. McCartney says, “Early on people generally don’t have symptoms, and that’s where the eye screenings sort of comes into place by your eye care professional. But generally, people who come in and they have severe glaucoma, they often complain of blurry vision, a lot of times it’s thought to be cataracts. Especially because of age, and they have significant peripheral vision. So they have lost the side vision. So they may complain that they did not see a car coming that they hit. So, those are sometimes the symptoms people come in complaining of.”

Dr. McCartney says early detection is very important, “Early treatment helps to decrease the likelihood of progression, and so really if we diagnose it early, even if you have peripheral vision loss it’s generally not severe. You start the treatment, and the treatment goal is to stop any further progression.”

Dr. McCartney says the 3 different forms of treatment for glaucoma are eye drops, laser, or surgery which will be determined by your eye care provider. Dr. McCartney adds glaucoma is a lifelong commitment to treatment, it is not one procedure and you are cured. It is an ongoing condition. Dr. McCartney leaves us with one last word of advice.

“The thing that I just wish is that people would actually come for eye examinations, at least a baseline examination early on and then letting their eye care professional guide how often they follow up. And then actually following up and recognizing that because you know you’re young doesn’t mean you can’t have eye conditions. That would be my recommendation. Find an eye care professional, get a routine or baseline eye examination and then let that person determine how soon you should follow up from there.” adds Dr. McCartney.

If you are over the age of 40 or think you may have glaucoma reach out to an eye care professional.