January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month

January 07, 2011

Don't Let Glaucoma Leave You in the Dark

Contact: Public Affairs

Boston – (Jan. 7, 2011) – The Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary reminds everyone that January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month. Anyone who may be categorized as high-risk should contact their doctor for a screening test of the disease.

Glaucoma is a group of disorders which are characterized by vision loss caused by damage to the optic nerve due to high fluid pressure in the eye. When discovered early and managed appropriately, the damaging effects of glaucoma can be addressed and total blindness may be prevented.

There is no cure for glaucoma but there are treatment options available to control the affects of the disease. There are medication options, including eye drops, laser surgery, and more traditional types of surgical interventions. Options should always be addressed with your doctor.

Dr. Louis R. Pasquale, Director of the Glaucoma Service and Associate Director of Telemedicine at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary states, “Early detection and treatment is an important step in saving sight from glaucoma. So please have an eye exam to rule out glaucoma particularly if you are in one of the following high risk groups: African Americans, Hispanics, people with a family history of glaucoma, people over the age of 60, steroid users, people with prior ocular trauma, and Asians, who are particular risk for the angle closure variant of glaucoma.” He continues, “Remember, you don't know if you have glaucoma unless you have been seen by a qualified eye doctor."

Glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness in the United States. Although glaucoma can affect individuals of all ages and backgrounds, if you fall into a high risk category, you are urged to contact your doctor and get your eye pressure checked. Early detection and treatment is essential to preserving sight as long as possible. Visit the Glaucoma Service pages at www.MassEyeandEar.org for information about glaucoma treatment and management, or for information about how to make an appointment.

Founded in 1824, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary is an independent specialty hospital providing patient care for disorders of the eye, ear, nose, throat, head and neck. Mass. Eye and Ear is an international leader in Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology research and a teaching partner of Harvard Medical School. For more information, call 617-523-7900 or visit http://www.masseyeandear.org/.