"Our results suggest that a computer-based imaging tool designed to detect narrowing of the retinal artery caliber, or diameter, could effectively identify those who are most at risk for open-angle glaucoma," said Dr. Mitchell. "Such a tool would also need to account for blood pressure and other factors that can contribute to blood vessel changes. Early detection would allow ophthalmologists to treat patients before optic nerve damage occurs and would give us the best chance of protecting their vision."
This is significant because, as a disease that doesn’t show symptoms until it’s either too late to reverse them or treatment options become minimal, early detection is your eyes’ best defense, especially for seniors. According to the National Eye Institute website, over 4 million Americans have some form of glaucoma. The Institute’s Director, Paul A. Sieving, MD, PhD, confirms the importance of the Australian study’s results and also offers related advice, “NEI-funded research has shown that treatment during the early stages of glaucoma can control the disease and prevent future vision loss and blindness. This is why NEI encourages people at higher risk for glaucoma to get a comprehensive dilated eye exam every one to two years."
After the age of 40, it’s a good idea to get a full eye exam no matter what, but according to the NEI website, those who are most at risk for developing glaucoma are all people of Hispanic descent over 60, African Americans over 40 and anyone with a family history of the disease.
Let National Glaucoma Awareness Month be your reminder to get that crucial eye exam for yourself and loved ones. It may just save someone’s sight.