2011-01-18 - January is National Glaucoma Awareness month.

Glaucoma is the second most common cause of blindness in the U.S., affecting nearly 3 million Americans. Glaucoma represents a family of eye diseases commonly associated with optic nerve damage and visual field changes (a narrowing of the eyes' usual scope of vision). Because the disease often progresses silently, with no warning or symptoms, it is estimated that up to one-half of the approximately 3 million Americans with the disease don't even know they have it.

Glaucoma occurs when high fluid pressure in the eye presses against the optic nerve, causing damage. The damage to optic nerve fibers can cause blind spots to develop. These blind spots usually go undetected until the optic nerve is significantly damaged.

Glaucoma screening can lead to early detection and treatment, which can prevent, slow, or stop vision loss from the disease.

While anyone can get glaucoma, certain groups of people are at higher risk for the disease. These include members who are over 60 years old, African Americans, Hispanics, and people with diabetes, who are nearly twice as likely to develop glaucoma. Prospect Medical urges you to contact your optometrist or ophthalmologist to schedule an eye exam.

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