News Releases

Jan. 17, 2017
Media contact: Leigh DeLozier, 404-778-3711, leigh.delozier@emory.edu

Guard against glaucoma in the new year

(ATLANTA) As you’re making resolutions and setting goals for the New Year, don’t forget one of the most important aspects of your health – your vision.

Illustration of vision of someone with glaucomaJanuary is Glaucoma Awareness Month and Emory Eye Center ophthalmologists encourage people at higher risk for the disease to schedule a comprehensive eye exam to check their eye health. Glaucoma can affect anyone, but people at higher risk include:

• African Americans age 40 and older
• Adults over age 60, especially Hispanics or Latinos
• Those who have a family history of the disease

Glaucoma is a leading cause of irreversible blindness, according to Anastasios Costarides, MD, PhD, a glaucoma specialist with Emory Eye Center.

"The condition damages the optic nerve," Costarides says. "To date, the only effective treatment is lowering intraocular pressure."

More than 3 million Americans – and more than 60 million people worldwide – have glaucoma, yet many don’t realize they have it. That’s because most people with glaucoma don’t have any pain or notice their initial vision loss.

Physicians diagnose glaucoma by combining an eye pressure test with a comprehensive eye exam that includes dilation. Patients with suspected glaucoma will also have a visual field test and an evaluation of the optic nerve. Having these tests on a regular basis can help detect glaucoma in its early stages before vision loss occurs.

"Early detection and treatment of glaucoma give patients the best chance to maintain good vision," Costarides says. "You can't reverse the damage that's been done, but you can slow or stop future vision loss."

Treatment options for glaucoma include prescription eye drops, laser surgery or microsurgery. The diagnosing physician can help patients decide which treatment might be best.

Emory Eye Center researchers are studying whether certain genetic factors might lead to glaucoma. If so, earlier intervention might be possible, saving more people’s sight.

To schedule a comprehensive eye exam with an Emory Eye Center doctor, call 404-778-2020.

Learn more about glaucoma and its symptoms and treatments: http://www.eyecenter.emory.edu/clinical_specialties/glaucoma.htm

 

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About Emory Eye Center

The Emory Eye Center has long been a clinical, scientific and academic leader for eye care. Ophthalmologists, optometrists and other eye care professionals treat individuals of all ages who need care ranging from general examinations to treatment of complex disorders. Scientists at Emory are researching the causes of and improved treatments for macular degeneration, cataracts, glaucoma, genetic eye diseases and more. Innovative treatments, groundbreaking research and personalized care have earned Emory Eye Center the respect of patients and providers alike. To learn more, visit www.eyecenter.emory.edu.

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