January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month. It is just the right time to help raise people’s awareness on this eye disorder that has been a concern for a number of people all over the world.
Reports reveal that over 3 million Americans have glaucoma. However, only 50% knows that they have it. The National Eye Institute estimates that this number will reach 4.2 million by 2030, which is a 58 percent increase of the current estimate. The significant number of loss due to glaucoma cases costs the United States government around $1.5 billion every year. According to the World Health Organization, glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness in the world. Even with these alarming statistics, a 2002 Prevent Blindness America Survey found that 30% still do not know about these eye disease.
Another appalling fact about glaucoma is that it can gradually steal one’s vision. Usually, there are no early warning signs or even painful symptoms that accompany the condition as it develops gradually. There are cases that there is an absence of evident sight loss even for a number of years. Once the vision is lost, it is permanent.
According to the National Eye Health Education Program (NEHEP), anyone can get glaucoma. However, there are those that are at higher risk, including African Americans over age 40, everyone over age 60, especially Hispanics/Latinos, as well as people with a family history of glaucoma.
Note that cure for glaucoma is not available yet. Nonetheless, treatment or surgery can slow down or avert further vision loss. The applicable treatment depends on the type of glaucoma as well as other factors. The best way to address this health concern is to treat it at the first diagnosis. Early detection would really help much in the immediate correction of the vision of any person who might have glaucoma.
January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month. Have you done your part? Don’t know where to start? Why not start here:
- Create and increase awareness. As many are still uneducated about this vision stealer, you can take your part and show your support to this cause by sharing your understanding about glaucoma with your friends and family.
- Encourage others to let people help them. If you have been diagnosed of glaucoma, let others know about it. This could be a way for those who had been in hiding to come out in the open and seek professional help for their condition.
- Call for action. Look for action-oriented groups that you believe will support this cause. Seek their support in spreading the word and inviting volunteers who can help, in any way, those who cannot help themselves.
- Make the campaign viral. Use every available communication platform to bring the news to those who might have not heard about this yet. There is a good chance that many would catch it.
- Connect with organizations and media who support the same cause and be updated of the latest treatments, news and information about glaucoma, as well as actions taken to address this health concern.