Glaucoma Awareness Month

Tina Patel Tina Patel
Tuesday, 04 January 2022
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January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month, a time to raise awareness of this condition and remind people to get regular eye tests.

Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases which can affect people of all ages (although mainly middle-aged and elderly people.) It is one of the leading causes of vision loss and blindness in adults and is also known as ‘the sneak thief of sight’ as it comes with no symptoms.

With Glaucoma, pressure builds up, damaging the optic nerve. The optic nerve is responsible for carrying images from the eye to the brain and damage to the optic nerve leads to vision loss.

According to the Glaucoma Research Foundation, 'as much as 40% of vision can be lost without a person noticing.'

How to observe National Glaucoma Awareness Month

You can raise awareness of glaucoma and observe National Glaucoma Awareness Month in the following ways:

  1. Volunteer – volunteering in your community through fundraisers, informational events, and discussions is a great way to raise awareness.
  2. Get a check-up – regular eye examinations are extremely important to monitor eye health regardless of whether you have symptoms of glaucoma or not.
  3. Learn about the risk factors – people of African, Asian, and Hispanic descent are at higher risk of glaucoma. Other high-risk groups include family members of those diagnosed with glaucoma, those with extreme near-sightedness, people with diabetes, and people over 60.

woman getting eyes tested

Why is National Glaucoma Awareness Month important?

National Glaucoma Awareness Month is incredibly important as not only does it help spread awareness of the disease, but it also gives those living with glaucoma a chance to be heard, helping them to cope by sharing their stories. The most important action you can take is to start talking to your family and friends about glaucoma. Glaucoma Awareness Month is all about starting this important conversation

Open-angle glaucoma has no symptoms and is the most common type of glaucoma. Most people with early glaucoma experience no symptoms too. Without treatment, those affected will lose their peripheral vision. Glaucoma Awareness Month draws attention to how people are affected, addressing the risks, and urging people to get their eyes tested and seek treatment. It’s important to encourage your relatives to have regular eye examinations, they may even qualify for a free eye test.

What colour ribbon is for glaucoma?

In the USA, a green ribbon is usually worn to raise awareness of glaucoma and express love and support for those living with the eye disease.

According to Remo Susanna Jr at the University of Sao Paulo, green is the colour for glaucoma because glaucoma originates from the Greek word ‘glaucos ', which means ‘blue-green haze’. In German, glaucoma is referred to as "Grüner Star" (Green Star), and in Japan, it translates to "green intraocular morbidity.”

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