Glaucoma is the country’s leading cause of preventable blindness, but by the time one notices a change in vision, it may be too late.
The disease is caused by a buildup of pressure inside the eye, which destroys the optic nerve. This happens slowly and without symptoms—the first sign of glaucoma is usually the loss of peripheral vision. By the time this stage has been reached, little can be done to stop the disease’s progress.
Luckily, early detection can slow the disease and help patients see more clearly. “With consistent, annual eye exams, we can see if glaucoma is present, and we can provide treatment,” says Dr. Sukumar Pandit, optometrist for Wink Optical and Philadelphia Eyeglass Labs. Treatment options range, but can include drops to reduce the pressure in the eye, laser trabeculoplasty or conventional surgery to slow the progression of the disease.
Knowing the risk factors is important: glaucoma is more common among people of African, Asian and Hispanic descent, as well as among diabetics, people over 60 and the severely nearsighted. Regular eye exams are important for everyone (the American Optometric Association recommends that people 18 to 60 years get an exam every two years, and that those 61 and older be seen annually), but they’re especially vital for those at increased risk.
“Including regular eye exams in your regimen of health and wellness is critical. Far too often I see people in their 50s and 60s who go to their primary care physicians regularly, but are going three, four or five years without a proper eye exam,” says Pandit. “That scenario can create the conditions for very serious problems.”
Wink Optical is located at 1649 The Fairway in Jenkintown. To schedule an appointment or for more information, visit Wink-Optical.com.