Glaucoma awareness is important because of its harmful effects should this disease go undetected. If someone were going to design a disease to cause as much harm as possible, they would be wise to study glaucoma as a model. They would want a disease that mimics glaucoma in that it is painless, slowly progressive and the damage it causes cannot be reversed. People with advanced glaucoma often have no idea that there is anything wrong with their vision until the tunnel of remaining sight is so small that they no longer function.
In open angle glaucoma, the buildup of pressure inside of the eye increases above the safe range so slowly that the body is unable to detect the change. Slowly the damage to the optic nerve inside the eye progresses. First, the side vision goes, producing tunnel vision. Later the sides close in further and all vision is forever lost.
Glaucoma is usually successfully treated with eye drops and this terrible loss of sight can be prevented. Rarely, a patient may require laser surgery or even conventional surgery to stop the progressive loss of vision from glaucoma.
It’s sort of like those old monster movies. The most terrible time was always prior to the discovery of the monster. Routine eye exams are the most common way that glaucoma is discovered. Once we know the disease is present, the treatment can begin.
What a shame it is to lose one’s eyesight when it could have been prevented by a simple visit to an eye doctor.