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Watch Out For the “Sneak Thief of Sight”

POSTED ON January 17, 2012

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More than 22 million Americans age 40 and older have open angle glaucoma, the most common form of glaucoma. Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness in the world, second only to cataracts. Glaucoma is a disease that damages the eye’s optic nerve. The optic nerve is connected to the retina (a layer of light-sensitive tissue lining the back of the eye) and is made up of many nerve fibers similar to an electric cable made up of many wires. The optic nerve sends signals ...

More than 22 million Americans age 40 and older have open angle glaucoma, the most common form of glaucoma. Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness in the world, second only to cataracts.

Glaucoma is a disease that damages the eye’s optic nerve. The optic nerve is connected to the retina (a layer of light-sensitive tissue lining the back of the eye) and is made up of many nerve fibers similar to an electric cable made up of many wires. The optic nerve sends signals from your retina to your brain, where these signals are interpreted as the images you see.

If left untreated, glaucoma can cause blindness. The American Academy of Ophthalmology states that only about half of the estimated three million Americans who have glaucoma are even aware that they have the condition. That’s why it’s referred to as the “sneak thief of sight.”

It’s not cheap, either! According to research funded by Prevent Blindness America, glaucoma costs the U.S. economy $2.86 billion every year in direct medical costs for outpatient, inpatient and prescription drug services.

As part of January’s National Glaucoma Awareness Month, Dr. Tavel is joining Prevent Blindness America in encouraging everyone to educate themselves on the disease. To read more about glaucoma, click here.

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