It has been said that the eyes are the windows to the soul.
I cannot say with any type of authority whether or not this is true.
I cannot, with any authority, look into your eyes and tell you much of anything.
What I can tell you is that this week is World Glaucoma Awareness Week and that this would be a good time to have a licensed professional gaze into your peepers and make sure everything is as it should be.
Because there are no symptoms or warning signs of glaucoma until the disease has progressed to a dangerous level.
Local optometrist, Dr. Ben Gaddie, is president of the Optometric Glaucoma Society, a group that aims to:
- Educate healthcare providers about all forms of glaucoma;
- Promote and support research of glaucoma;
- Make research findings accessible to healthcare providers; and
- Coordinate globally with similar organizations.
Dr. Gaddie says that the silence of glaucoma is one of the biggest challenges that health providers face in the fight against this disease. Oftentimes, people mistake the deterioration of their vision with the normal aging process. When caught early, glaucoma is a very treatable condition, oftentimes requiring eye drops just once daily to lower the pressure in the eye. Early detection is the best way to limit the disease’s progression and prevent blindness.
I asked Dr. Ben Gaddie if there is anything about this region, such as days of sunlight or health habits, for example, that makes us more susceptible to glaucoma? He replied, “There is really nothing geographic about our region that increases susceptibility to glaucoma, but interestingly, the longitude and latitude may play a part in activating a gene that can lead to a secondary type of glaucoma called Pseudoexfoliation glaucoma. This primarily occurs in locales such as Scandinavia and upper North America. Probably the most damaging aspect of living in Kentucky and developing glaucoma probably lies in the dietary department.”
(That’s right. We need to eat more fruits and vegetables. Point taken.)
So, this week, do yourself and your family a favor and schedule a visit with an eye doctor to be checked out.
A couple of painless tests to measure the pressure in the eye and the layout of your retina and optic nerve is a small price to pay to ensure your eyes stay healthy and your vision remains sharp.
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Photo courtesy of Shutterstock/Piotr Krzeslak