Why is National Glaucoma Awareness Month observed in January?
Glaucoma refers to a condition where the optic nerve connecting the eye to the brain is damaged which can lead to vision loss if not detected and treated early.
Glaucoma usually occurs when fluid in the eye cannot drain, increasing pressure inside the eye and putting pressure on the optic nerve. While the disease is quite common, the disease has no symptoms in the early stages, therefore, it is difficult to recognize.
Glaucoma can affect any age, including infants and children, but is most common in adults in their 70s and 80s.
What is the so-called Glaucoma?
A glaucoma is a group of diseases that cause irreversible damage to the optic nerve which is known as a bundle of more than 1 million nerve fibers that connects the retina to the brain. Glaucoma can lead to vision loss and blindness.
However, if detected early and the right treatment can stop the progression of the disease, patients can avoid serious vision and field of vision loss.
Causes of Glaucoma
Glaucoma has no obvious cause but is associated with increased pressure in the eye and/or decreased blood flow to the optic nerve.
This can be congenital or due to damage to the inside of the eye. Elevated hydrocele can lead to glaucoma, but not everyone gets glaucoma with hydrocele. Some other factors that may increase your risk of glaucoma include:
- Age: About 10 people over 75 years old have 1 person with Glaucoma.
- Ethnicity: People of African, Caribbean, or Asian ancestry have a higher risk of glaucoma than people elsewhere.
How many types of Glaucoma are there?
Primary open-angle glaucoma ( POAG)
Open-angle glaucoma is the most common form of Glaucoma. People with open-angle glaucoma have an incomplete blockage of the drainage angle of the eye, causing increased eye pressure.
This will cause damage to the optic nerve in the long run. The process of primary open-angle glaucoma is slow and painless, therefore, that makes it difficult for patients to recognize the symptoms of the disease.
Angle-closure glaucoma is known in folklore as partial glaucoma which occurs when the drainage angle of the eye is completely closed.
This causes a sudden increase in eye pressure, which is very dangerous for the patient. People with angle-closure Glaucoma often have eye pain, headaches, halos around when looking at light bulbs, nausea... When experiencing these symptoms, it is necessary to take the patient to the hospital immediately.
Why is National Glaucoma Awareness Month observed?
In the United States, it is warned that blindness will become a new health epidemic and Glaucoma is the leading cause of permanent blindness, according to the US population ages.
It is really practical to take January as Glaucoma Awareness Month because this observance is dedicated to raising awareness about a disease that many call “the sneak thief of sight.”
According to the National Eye Institute, it is estimated that Glaucoma currently affects over 3 million Americans and the number will increase 58% to 4.2 million by 2030.
In particular, the symptoms of Glaucoma often go undetected until the disease reaches a critical point. As a result, it is necessary for everyone to raise awareness against this disease and prevent it before the situation becomes serious. There are some cases in which patients can lose as much as 40% of their eyesight before realizing they have glaucoma.
How to celebrate National Glaucoma Awareness Month?
You can celebrate the month of Glaucoma awareness in various ways, including:
- Go to the doctor and have a diagnosis with your eyesight.
- Talk to your friends and family about your experience if you have been diagnosed with glaucoma.
- Order a complimentary educational booklet or documents about glaucoma and ways to prevent it.
- Participate in awareness events, fundraisers, and other activities relating to glaucoma and its symptoms.
Aside from the above ways of celebrations, wearing or using items with National Glaucoma Awareness Month printing artworks also have many meanings. Firstly, these items are an interesting way to show your awareness of this dangerous disease. Secondly, wearing or using these items indicates that you are a person who takes care of yourself well, you know what is good for your health and what should be avoided and prevented. Finally, items with National Glaucoma Awareness Month can inspire you and people around you to get the hang of the symptoms and the danger of this serious disease.
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