The month of January is recognized as National Glaucoma Awareness Month. Currently, more than 3 million people in the United States have been diagnosed with glaucoma. Furthermore, The National Eye Institute projects that this number will increase to 4.2 million by 2030. Glaucoma is sometimes referred to as “the sneak thief of sight” since there are no symptoms and once vision is lost, it’s permanent. Therefore, the purpose of National Glaucoma Awareness Month is to spread awareness about glaucoma.
According to the Glaucoma Foundation, glaucoma is a group of eye diseases where pressure is increased within the eye which is caused by a backup of fluid in the eye and eventually leads to vision loss. Vision loss is caused by damage to the optic nerve. This nerve acts like an electric cable with over a million wires and it is responsible for carrying images from the eye to the brain. Currently, there is no cure for glaucoma, but surgery and medication delay the vision loss that results from glaucoma. There are two types of glaucoma. The first type of glaucoma is open-angle glaucoma which is the most common form of glaucoma and accounts for 90% of all glaucoma cases. “Open-angle” means that the angle where the iris meets the cornea is as wide and open as it should be. The second type of glaucoma is called angle-closure glaucoma which is a less common form of glaucoma. Angle-closure glaucoma is a result of the angle between the iris and cornea closing.
Even though there are no symptoms for glaucoma, there are some risk factors. A few of these risk factors are family history, people with diabetes, those who are over 60, and people who are severely nearsighted. The only way to be diagnosed with glaucoma is to get a comprehensive dilated eye exam. An early diagnosis will help prevent further vision loss which could result from glaucoma.
If you have questions regarding any of the information mentioned in this week’s article, please do not hesitate to call my Capitol or District Office. Please always feel free to contact my office if you have any questions or issues regarding a Texas state agency, or if you would like to contact my office regarding constituent services. As always, my offices are available at any time to assist with questions, concerns, or comments (Capitol Office, 512-463-0672; District Office, 361-949-4603).
– State Representative Todd Hunter, District 32
Rep. Hunter represents Aransas County and Nueces County (Part). He can be contacted at email@example.com or at 512-463-0672.