Get the Facts About Glaucoma

As people age, many expect their health to begin to deteriorate at least a little bit. While science has made many advancements and people are now living longer and healthier lives, there are still some signs people recognize as signs of aging. And these signs can begin as early as a person's 20s, growing more noticeable as time goes on.

One side effect many inappropriately associate strictly with aging is glaucoma. Though commonly considered a disease of the elderly, glaucoma is not strictly limited to baby boomers and seniors citizens. While the Glaucoma Research Foundation notes that the elderly are at a higher risk for glaucoma, they are also quick to point out that 1 out of every 10,000 babies born in the United States is born with glaucoma, illustrating the broad expanse of this potentially harmful disease.

With that in mind, consider the following quick facts about glaucoma:

* Roughly half of the 4 million Americans who have glaucoma are unaware they have it.

* Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness. It's important to get routine eye examinations, as even those who do and receive adequate treatment for glaucoma will not necessarily avoid blindness. In fact, roughly 10 percent of people with glaucoma who receive proper treatment still experience loss of vision. For those who never get treatment, the likelihood of blindness is even greater.

* There are not necessarily symptoms of glaucoma. The importance of eye examinations is further emphasized by the very real likelihood there will be no discernible symptoms of glaucoma, as doctors often diagnose the disease before patients know they even have a vision problem. When vision loss begins, it does so with diminished peripheral vision. Many people subconsciously compensate by turning their head to the side.

* According to the Glaucoma Research Foundation, African-Americans are particularly susceptible to glaucoma at a young age.

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