Importance of Observing National Glaucoma Awareness Month
According to various studies, more than three million people in the United States currently have glaucoma, and many of the total cases might be unaware of their condition too. It is also projected that this number will increase by 53 percent by 2030. These rising numbers prove the harsh reality of Glaucoma and what will happen if it’s not cured on time. In the near future, if awareness is not raised about the disease and its early detection through regular checkups, we may see an epidemic of blindness.
With this in mind, every year, the month of January is celebrated as National Glaucoma Awareness Month. The entire month aims to raise awareness about the health condition. It reminds us of the importance of regular checkups, showing support to survivors, and the need to spread awareness. Apart from this, National Glaucoma Awareness Month is an excellent time to recognize the outstanding researchers and clinicians who work tirelessly every day to discover a solution and enhance people’s lives.
So, this year, if you really want to make a difference in society, you must be aware of the disease and take measures to spread awareness among the community.
Learn More About Glaucoma
Glaucoma can be simply defined as a collection of eye disorders that steal sight gradually and without warning. It impacts both the eyes when the drainage region of the eyes becomes partially obstructed. This disease prevents eye fluid from flowing and causes intraocular pressure (IOP) to rise over the usual. This puts pressure on the optic nerve, which connects the eye to the brain via over a million nerves. Hence, this pressure causes severe damage to the nerve, which results in the loss of vision over time. It is essentially a set of illnesses in which pressure builds up and affects the optic nerve of the eye, leading to blindness.
Types of Glaucoma:
There are four different types of Glaucoma -
1. Primary Open Angle Glaucoma
2. Angle Closure Glaucoma
3. Normal-Tension Glaucoma
4. Secondary Glaucomas
All of these types have their own set of minor symptoms and diagnoses.
Glaucoma has no symptoms in the initial years until the vision has worsened severely. However, in some cases, a few symptoms might be seen in the patients like redness of the eye, tender eye area, intense pain, seeing rings around lights, headache, and misty vision leading to a quick loss of vision. While they might be there, these symptoms are not constant and often neglected by the patients.
This disease is often regarded as “the sneak thief of sight” as most of the population suffering from the disease are unaware of their condition because of a few or negligible symptoms or warning signs in the early stage.
2. Ethnic origin
4. Ocular hypertension
5. Family history
6. Eye conditions
7. Steroid medications
Diagnosis & Treatment:
Since Glaucoma develops slowly over time with no symptoms, it becomes critical to visit an optometrist and get an eye examination done. Here are some of the tests that are being suggested for diagnosing the condition.
1. Eye Pressure Test
2. Central Corneal Thickness Test
4. Visual Field Test
5. Optic Nerve Assessment
If Glaucoma is suspected after the comprehensive eye examination, the treatment is suggested, which is usually medications. To date, there is no cure for treating this disease entirely. However, several methods are being carried out to lower the pressure inside the eye and prevent it from further damage to the optic nerve. Below given are a few treatments to reduce the pressure and clear damage paths.
1. Eye Drops and medications
2. Laser Treatment
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Importance of Observing National Glaucoma Awareness Month
January is observed as National Glaucoma Awareness Month due to the following reasons -
- Glaucoma Is A Silent Disease: As mentioned above, Glaucoma has no symptoms. Even if the signs are there, they are negligible and can be easily ignored. This is why it is called a silent disease. Because the symptoms are often unnoticeable, it becomes important to take this disease into consideration and make people familiar with the importance of regular checkups in lowering the risk of Glaucoma.
- People Are Unaware Of The Disease: While it is a leading cause of vision loss or blindness in the United States, the majority of people are still not aware of it. This makes it the need of the hour to educate people and make them aware of the disease.
- Spreading Awareness Gives Voice To People: National Glaucoma Awareness Month is that time of the year that motivates patients to cope with this eye condition. By spreading awareness, it encourages people to come forward and share their stories and experience.
- The Number Of Patients Are Rising: Over the past few years, over 3 million people in the United States have had Glaucoma, and this number is still on the rise. These rising numbers make it important to consider the issue and talk more about it. By celebrating the awareness day and making people aware of it, the number of patients can either be reduced or stopped from rising.
- It Can Affect People Of All Ages: While Glaucoma is more common among senior citizens, it can affect anyone. Since everyone has a different level of eye power tolerance, they can get affected by the disease irrespective of their age. This makes it essential to spread awareness about Glaucoma and help people and their loved ones from getting affected by it.
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Ways To Observe National Glaucoma Awareness Month
There are multiple ways by which a person can contribute to National Glaucoma Awareness Month. Some of the prominent ones are given below:
1. Share Resources Online
One of the best ways of observing National Glaucoma Awareness Month is by spreading the word about this health concern. While this can be done in multiple ways, one of the ideal ways is by spreading resources on social media. You can download documents, create posters, make a directory with important contacts, etc. Once you have sharable content, you can put it out on the internet and make it available for the mass population.
2. Schedule A Checkup For Yourself And Loves Ones
Eye checkups are crucial for reducing the risks of Glaucoma. Getting it checked helps in diagnosing it in the early stage and finding the right treatment on time. Hence, this National Glaucoma Awareness Month, you must undergo an eye and vision examination and get yourself tested. You should also encourage your family members, friends, and loved ones to examine themselves this January.
3. Be A Part Of Group Discussions And Support Groups
Getting involved with communities is another way of observing National Glaucoma Awareness Month. You can volunteer with local health centers or support groups and be a part of the event they host. Also, you can participate in group discussions or host your own webinars to spread awareness. Inviting an eye specialist as a guest speaker for webinars or events would also be a great idea for spreading the right word.
4. Host Fund Raisers and Ask For Donations
Supporting organizations financially is an excellent way of offering treatment to those who are incapable of getting it on their own. For this, you can host fundraisers or ask for donations from the public or even your loved ones. Once you get enough funds, you can give them to the organizations that work towards this goal, like non-profit organizations.
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Summing It Up
Now that you are well-versed about Glaucoma and awareness month, make sure you join hands in spreading awareness about this ocular disease. The entire month of January is observed as National Glaucoma Awareness Month and provides a great opportunity to learn and spread the word about the condition. So, this year make sure you come forward and try to bring a change in society.
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