Early detection, regular checkups are key to preventing blindness from glaucoma

January 15, 2021

By: Faisal Ridha Al-timimi, M.D., Wayne Health Department of Ophthalmology

Glaucoma is a leading cause of irreversible blindness around the world. It refers to damage to the optic nerve that usually occurs slowly over time, and often has no symptoms in its early stages. In the United States, approximately 3 million people have glaucoma, and it is most common in the African American community. African Americans are three to four times more likely to have glaucoma than non-Hispanic whites, and nearly 15 times more likely to suffer from blindness because of it.

Early detection is the key to treating glaucoma and preventing blindness. Some important risk factors for developing glaucoma are out of our control! These include:

  • Gray hair (being over 40)
  • Having a family history of glaucoma
  • High eye pressure
  • Being of African, Hispanic or Asian heritage

The good news is that those who are diagnosed in the early stages rarely go blind. We have more treatment options now than ever before. These include a variety of different eye drops, laser treatments and several minimally invasive surgical procedures that have been developed over the last several years. When talking to patients, my take home message is that nobody should go blind from glaucoma! The key to prevention is having regular checkups and appropriate follow up.

Glaucoma can be a silent thief of vision, but it does not have to be. I encourage patients to ask their older family members if they have any history of eye diseases, and to see an ophthalmologist every 1-2 years after they reach age 40.

Wayne Health ophthalmologists are faculty members at the Wayne State University School of Medicine, who practice at the internationally renowned Kresge Eye Institute (KEI) with locations throughout metro Detroit.

To schedule an appointment with a Wayne Health eye doctor, call 877-Wayne-HC (877-929-6342) or request an appointment online.

Early detection, regular checkups are key to preventing blindness from glaucoma
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