More than 3 million people in the United States have glaucoma. The National Eye Institute projects this number will reach 4.2 million by 2030, a 58% increase.
Glaucoma is the leading cause of irreversible blindness and is 6 to 8 times more common in African Americans than Caucasians. Over 3 million Americans, and over 60 million people worldwide, have glaucoma with estimates that half of those people do not know they have the disease. Combined with an aging population, there is an epidemic of blindness looming if awareness does not increase surrounding the importance of regular eye examinations to preserve vision. The World Health Organization estimates that 4.5 million people worldwide are blind due to glaucoma.
Approximately 120,000 Americans have gone blind from glaucoma, accounting for 9-12% of all cases of blindness. January has been named National Glaucoma Awareness Month as an important time to spread knowledge of the sight-stealing disease. Typically starting in the periphery, glaucoma has no onset symptoms and once vision has been lost, it will not return.
What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that progress gradually, stealing sight, without showing symptoms. The word ‘glaucoma’ is actually an umbrella term for a group of eye diseases that damage the delicate fibers that run from your eye to your optic nerve, which is the nerve that carries information about the images your eye sees to your brain. Damage is often the result of high fluid pressure inside the eye. Glaucoma can affect people of all ages but is most prevalent in middle-aged adults and the elderly. While there is no cure, surgery or medication can slow its effects and help to prevent further vision loss.
Types of Glaucoma
There are two main types of glaucoma: primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG), and angle-closure glaucoma. These are marked by an increase of intraocular pressure (IOP) or pressure inside the eye. When optic nerve damage has occurred despite a normal IOP, this is called “normal tension” glaucoma. Secondary glaucoma refers to any case in which another disease causes or contributes to increased eye pressure, resulting in optic nerve damage and vision loss.
Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness in the world and as previously stated, the most common form exhibits virtually no symptoms. Peripheral vision is often the first to go but is often unnoticed which is why glaucoma in many cases goes undetected. The best way to detect, prevent, treat, and protect vision from glaucoma is routine, comprehensive eye exams. It is also important to know who is at risk of developing glaucoma to adequately prepare. Those at higher risk include people of African, Asian, and Hispanic descent. Other high-risk groups include people over 60, family members of those already diagnosed, diabetics, and people who are severely nearsighted.
Results from published clinical studies suggest that optomap may play an essential role in glaucoma management. optomap provides details needed for specialty exams, while simultaneously delivering an integrated view to the eye.
optomap enables eyecare professionals to discover, diagnose, document, and treat ocular pathology that may first present in the periphery, such as glaucoma. Currently, the gold standard tool for glaucoma detection is a clinical examination with a dilated slit-lamp bio-microscopy carried out by a glaucoma specialist to assess the optic disc. Recent studies suggest that UWF imaging may be suitable for diagnosing glaucoma in situations where slit-lamp biomicroscopy or digital color stereoscopy are not available. Another study also confirms that optomap has almost perfect agreement with color digital stereoscopy when assessed by a glaucoma specialist. Continued reading on this study can be found here…
optomap is an innovative technology backed by clinical evidence as well as a fast and easy addition to a standard comprehensive eye exam. optomap helps staff and patients feel safe while there is no face to face interaction during image capture. To find out more information on how optomap can enable you to detect and manage glaucoma in your patient base, contact Optos, today.