Monday, January 14, 2013

Get those eyes examined, or a 'sneak thief' might steal your sight

January is Glaucoma Awareness Month, so the Kentucky Optometric Association is emphasizing the need for an annual dilated eye exam.

Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness in the U.S., but awareness surrounding the disease is relatively low, says the American Optometric Association. A poll taken for the AOA "found that 90 percent of Americans incorrectly believe glaucoma is preventable, and 72 percent mistakenly think glaucoma has early warning signs," KOA said in a news release. "Regular eye exams are the first line of defense for early detection of glaucoma."

The optometrists' group says more than half of Americans who have glaucoma remain undiagnosed, mainly because people don'y get regular eye exams. “Glaucoma is often referred to as ‘the sneak thief of sight’ because it can strike without pain or other symptoms,” said Dr. Ben Gaddie, a Louisville-area optometrist who is president of the international Optometric Glaucoma Society. “Vision lost to glaucoma cannot be restored, so early detection and treatment are extremely important.”

Treatment for glaucoma includes eye drops and medicines to lower pressure in the eyeball. In some cases, laser treatment or surgery may reduce pressure. To find a optometrist in your area, through the KPA, go to

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