More than 60 million people worldwide currently suffer from glaucoma. Shockingly, however, nearly 30 million of these individuals are completely unaware they have the eye disease, because glaucoma displays no symptoms and, at first, only affects peripheral or side vision. As a result, a person can lose as much as 40% of their vision before even noticing. What’s worse is that once vision loss occurs, there is no way of reversing the damage.
“We call this disease a ‘thief of vision’ because most people with it have no idea that they have lost sight until it is too late to bring it back,” said ophthalmologist Andrew Iwach, MD, the executive director of the Glaucoma Center of San Francisco and an associate clinical professor of opthalmology at the University of California, San Francisco.
Luckily, there may be a solution on the horizon. According to a new study, which appears in the latest issue of the journal Ophthalmology, there may be a new way to identify people at risk of glaucoma years before vision loss occurs.
For 10 years, researchers from the University of Sydney followed nearly 2,500 adults 49 years of age and older, none of whom had glaucoma when the study started. Researchers were able to predict which participants were at increased risk of developing glaucoma by measuring blood vessel thickness in the retinas using a computer-based imaging tool.
Those participants with the narrowest vessels were four times more likely to have developed glaucoma ten years later, at the end of the study.
“It remains to be seen if this approach will help us identify people at risk for glaucoma sooner,” said eye surgeon Mark Fromer, MD, of Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. “We have a number of tools now to help us do that, but we’ve got to get people in our offices to use them.”
This is why regular, comprehensive eye exams are so important. In fact, the American Optometric Association recommends eye exams for adults aged 18 to 60 every two years. For those ages 61 and older, the AOA recommends annual eye exams. In addition, the American Academy of Ophthalmology has its own recommendations, which dovetail nicely with the AOA suggestions. Those AAO recommendations can be found by clicking here.
Comprehensive Eye Exams at Anne Arundel Eye Center in Annapolis, Maryland
Located in Annapolis, Maryland, Anne Arundel Eye Center (AAEC) is a regional leader in the diagnosis and treatment of glaucoma, cataracts and other eye diseases. Led by Dr. Samuel Boles, the AAEC offers complete ophthalmic exams as well as diagnostic pre and post-surgical eye care.
Dr. Boles has helped restore and preserve thousands of patients’ vision.
To learn more about Glaucoma, please contact board certified ophthalmologist Dr. Samuel Boles, consultative optometrists Dr. Nathan Frank and Dr. Corinne Casey, and the eye care specialists at Anne Arundel Eye Center by calling 410-224-2010 or click here to visit AnneArundelEyeCenter.com. Staffed by caring and knowledgeable professionals, our state-of-the-art treatment center is dedicated to making the best eye care accessible to everyone.
For more eye care advice and information, please take a look at our previous blog posts.
Source: New Eye Test May Help Predict Risk of Glaucoma WebMD