News & Press

Keep an Eye on Healthy Aging for Glaucoma Awareness Month

Are you keeping an eye out for healthy aging? It’s definitely a high priority, especially if you’re one of the millions of Americans living with undiagnosed glaucoma.

What is glaucoma?

Glaucoma is the medical name for a group of disorders that create pressure in the eye, usually because the fluid that fills the eye (known as intraocular fluid) drains too slowly or doesn’t drain at all. Glaucoma doesn’t have any telltale signs or symptoms. If left unmanaged it can eventually lead to blindness because pressure damages the optic nerve that sends messages from your eye to your brain so you can see.

What should I do if I’m worried about glaucoma?

While glaucoma can’t be prevented and has no cure, early diagnosis and ongoing treatment can lower fluid pressure and help preserve your eyesight. Eye specialists (ophthalmologists and, in some states, optometrists) can diagnose glaucoma and prescribe treatments, but you need to be proactive about arranging a yearly eye exam that includes a glaucoma check.

Where can I learn more?

To commemorate National Glaucoma Awareness Month this January, HealthinAging.org joined the Chief Health and Medical Editor of ABC News, Dr. Richard Besser, in a Twitter chat on the ins-and-outs of glaucoma – who’s at risk, what diagnosis looks like, and how treatment works. Our thanks to AGS Member and Health in Aging Foundation Board Member Dr. Michael Wasserman for taking the reigns of @HealthinAging and sharing some really helpful insights about glaucoma in older adults. For example, did you know:

  • Glaucoma is the second most common cause of blindness in the U.S., and the leading cause of irreversible blindness globally.
  • Adults 60 years old and older are 6 times more likely to develop glaucoma than other people.
  • Signs of glaucoma for older adults include loss of peripheral vision (what you see out of the “corner of your eye”), stumbling, and falling.

Want to learn more about glaucoma and other conditions that can affect eyesight? Check out the resources available from HealthinAging.org, including:

February 3, 2015