Myth Busting Facts about Glaucoma

January is Glaucoma Awareness Month

Glaucoma is a leading cause of vision loss and blindness but half of people with glaucoma don’t know they have it. Glaucoma, a group of eye conditions that damage the optic nerve, is often surrounded by misconceptions that can lead to misunderstandings and delayed treatment.

Glaucoma has no early symptoms. The only way to check for it is to get a comprehensive dilated eye exam.  There’s no cure for glaucoma, but starting treatment as early as possible can help stop vision loss.

Common Myths about Glaucoma

As a leading cause of irreversible blindness, it is crucial to dispel these myths and foster a better understanding of glaucoma.

Myth 1

Glaucoma only affects the elderly

Contrary to popular belief, Glaucoma can affect individuals of any age. While the risk does increase with age, it is not exclusive to the elderly. Glaucoma can manifest in younger individuals, emphasizing the importance of regular eye check-ups across all age groups.

Higher risk people include;

  • Are over age 60
  • Are Black/African American and over age 40
  • Are Asian American
  • Are Hispanic/Latino
  • Have a family history of glaucoma
Myth 2

Glaucoma only affects those with High Intraocular Pressure

Although elevated intraocular pressure is a significant risk factor for glaucoma, it is not the sole determinant. Some people develop glaucoma with normal eye pressure, while others may have high intraocular pressure without developing the condition. Regular eye examinations that include optic nerve assessments are vital in detecting glaucoma early.

Myth 3

Glaucoma has obvious symptoms

One of the dangerous aspects of glaucoma is its silent progression. In its early stages, glaucoma often presents no noticeable symptoms. By the time symptoms become apparent, irreversible damage may have occurred. Regular eye check-ups are crucial for early detection, allowing for timely intervention and preventing vision loss.

Myth 4

Glaucoma is curable

While glaucoma is not curable, early detection and proper management can significantly slow its progression and prevent further vision loss. Treatment options include medications, laser therapy, and surgery, depending on the severity of the condition.

Myth 5

Once diagnosed, treatment is unnecessary

Some individuals believe that once diagnosed with glaucoma, treatment is unnecessary if they are not currently experiencing symptoms. This misconception can lead to a lack of adherence to prescribed medications or follow-up appointments. Consistent management is crucial to control the condition and preserve vision.