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Keeping an Eye on Glaucoma: Loyola Medicine Raises Awareness of Vision “Thief”

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MAYWOOD | From the moment we wake until the time we go to bed, our eyes are working to see, process information and guide us through our day. Yet for most people, you may never know that a sneaking “thief” could be lurking in your eye, ready to take your vision-glaucoma.

January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month and Loyola Medicine ophthalmologist Meenakshi Chaku, MD, a board certified glaucoma specialist, says awareness is key for preventing vision loss due to glaucoma.

Glaucoma is a condition that causes damage to the optic nerve, resulting in vision loss and blindness. A risk factor can be elevated high eye pressure but glaucoma can also occur at normal pressures inside the eye.

“Healthy eye pressure falls between the range of 10 to 21,” said Dr. Chaku. “Eye pressure higher than 21 can become a risk factor for glaucoma.”

Those at higher risk for glaucoma include people of African, Caribbean and Latin decent, people over 60, people with a family history of glaucoma, diabetics and people who are extremely nearsighted.
There are seven types of glaucoma with the most common being primary open angle glaucoma. When the eye cannot function normally, it leads to damage of the optic nerve, which communicates to the brain and transmits images to the brain. If left untreated, it can cause permanent loss of vision.

For too many patients, the symptoms of glaucoma go unnoticed until it’s too late.

“It’s called a silent thief because patients feel fine until there’s deterioration of peripheral vision,” Dr. Chaku said. “Glaucoma is an aging disease and can strike at any time. When people notice changes in their peripheral vision, it is already in the late stages of the disease. Patients have no symptoms in the initial stages of the disease.”

Regular eye examinations are critical for early detention, especially for people who are at higher risk. While there is no cure for glaucoma, medication, laser and surgical intervention surgery can prevent or slow down vision loss.

Loyola Medicine’s department of ophthalmology offers a complete range of comprehensive and subspecialty eye care. Together with Loyola optometrists, the ophthalmologists offer primary through tertiary care, comprehensive diagnostic services and personalized treatment for adults and children.

 

 

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