HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - It’s the leading cause of permanent blindness in African Americans, and the third leading cause of blindness in Caucasians in our country. According to Hattiesburg Eye Clinic’s Glaucoma Specialist, Dr. Adam Quinn, glaucoma gradually steals sight without warning, and this month, National Glaucoma Awareness Month, is the time to get checked out.
“It’s estimated about 3 to 4 million people have glaucoma and only about 50 percent of them know they have it,” Quinn said.
Quinn said this means there are people out there gradually losing their sight to a disease that has no cure. He said once you find out you have glaucoma, whatever amount of vision that’s lost can’t come back.
“Glaucoma is damage to the optic nerve in the back of the eye, that’s the nerve that sends signals of light to the brain that convert it into images," Quinn said. "It’s usually due to high pressure inside the eye. It’s a slowly progressive disease which can take away the side vision which is why a lot of people do not notice they have any problems until its very late and advanced.”
Quinn said with no noticeable signs, it’s important for patients to see their doctor for screening of their vision, eye pressure and more detailed tests.
“Such as the vision field, testing the peripheral vision cause that’s usually the first thing to go while the center vision is spared until the end,” Quinn said.
If Quinn finds you have Glaucoma, he said the treatment goal is preserving vision, especially the center.
“Sometimes it can involve a daily medication in the form of a drop, there’s also laser options available and surgical options as well for certain patients,” Quinn said.
He said patients need to get check for glaucoma if: you have diabetes, you are 40 and older, have a family history, you are African American, or you are near sighted.