Primary Open-Angle Glaucoma: The Importance of Raising Awareness
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Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness worldwide, but it is surrounded by many mysteries yet to be solved by researchers. Additionally, the general public is not well informed about the risks of glaucoma. “It is estimated that over 2.2 million Americans have glaucoma but only half of those know they have it” (“Glaucoma Facts”, 2013, para. 8). Glaucoma is a disease in which continual pressure to the optic nerve damages it, leading to vision loss (“What is Glaucoma?”, n.d.). Glaucoma is complicated and not very well known. It is important to raise public awareness about this condition so that people with a high risk can have access to testing, glaucoma can be treated properly, and a cure can be found. Therefore, it is essential to know the effects and symptoms, testing methods, potential treatments, genetic causes, and risk groups for glaucoma in order to become more aware for the benefit of individuals with and without glaucoma.
There are several different types of glaucoma; the most common type is primary open-angle glaucoma, or POAG. POAG clogs the eye’s drainage canals, meaning aqueous humor cannot drain out of the eye. The increased pressure on the optic nerve damages it and gradually decreases vision (“Primary Open-Angle Glaucoma,” 2011). However, it is possible to develop glaucoma without an increase in eye pressure, and to have increased eye pressure without developing glaucoma (“Facts About Glaucoma,” n.d.). It is difficult to notice POAG in its early stages because early vision loss is usually not painful and occurs in the peripheral area. Once damage occurs to the optic nerve, there is no way to regain lost vision. If left untreated or unnoticed, POAG leads to severe vision loss and blindness, which can have a ...
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