January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month. Glaucoma is an eye disease that can lead to vision loss—it can result in blindness if not properly diagnosed and treated. Often, glaucoma presents no symptoms, so it’s important to keep up with your vision checkups so that an optometrist can spot any early signs or symptoms of glaucoma. Glaucoma is the leading cause of preventable blindness.
What can you do to prevent and/or control glaucoma?
• You can preserve your sight through regular eye exams, early detection, and treatment.
• The Glaucoma Research Foundation recommends that before age 40, you get your vision checked every 2 to 4 years; from age 40 to 54, every 1 to 3 years; from age 54 to 65, once every 1 to 2 years; and from age 65 on, every 6 months to one year.
• Check into whether your employer offers vision insurance—you may be able to get vision exams fully or partially covered, and you may also even be able to get a discount on frames or lenses, too. (If you don’t know or understand what your vision insurance covers, try reaching out to an advocacy service like Health Advocate or Health Proponent. They can help you untangle your benefits and understand what’s covered, what isn’t covered, and help you estimate any out-of-pocket costs.)
• If you do not have vision insurance, you may want to check in to whether the American Optometric Association can help you—they offer a variety of services to uninsured and low-income families.
Where can you find more information about glaucoma?
• The Glaucoma Research Foundation has published a comprehensive brochure that talks about what glaucoma is, tests and diagnosis, and glaucoma treatment.
• Check out this list of resources that includes links to information about clinical trials, manuals about eye disorders, articles about glaucoma, vision health tips, and more.