Health department can help with glaucoma exams


January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month, which takes place to raise awareness about the importance of early detection and treatment of glaucoma. The goal of this observance is to educate the public about the risk factors for glaucoma, the signs and symptoms of the condition, and the importance of regular eye exams to detect and prevent vision loss.

Glaucoma is a serious eye condition that affects millions of people worldwide. It is characterized by damage to the optic nerve, which can lead to vision loss and even blindness. The condition is often referred to as “the sneak thief of sight” because it can develop gradually over time and may not have any symptoms until it is advanced.

Risk factors for glaucoma include age, family history and certain medical conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes. People of African descent are also at a higher risk for developing glaucoma as well.

With glaucoma, you might notice that you can’t see as well or that things look blurry. You might also have pain in your eyes or see circles around lights. But sometimes, you won’t notice anything at all. That’s why it’s important to go to the eye doctor.

When you go to the eye doctor, they will check the pressure inside your eyes, look for any damage to the nerves, and check your side vision. If nerve damage is found it cannot be reversed, but it may be slowed with medication, laser therapy or surgery.

To protect your vision and prevent vision loss from glaucoma, it is important to have regular eye exams, especially if you are at a higher risk for the condition. Also, you can also protect your vision by maintaining a healthy lifestyle, such as eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and controlling any chronic medical conditions such as heart disease or diabetes.

In order to prevent vision loss or other issues, it is important to have a yearly eye exam. If you are low income, do not have vision insurance or are underinsured or need assistance with an eye exam and/or glasses, the Highland County Health Department can assist you in obtaining a voucher for a free eye exam and/or glasses. For more information, call the health department office at 937-393-1941.

Submitted by Erin Mustard, director of nursing, Highland County Health Department.

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