Regular checkups needed to detect, fight glaucoma

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Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness and visual impairment in America, especially in older individuals. Loss of sight is preventable by early detection and treatment, according to the staff at Coastal Jersey Eye Center.

Glaucoma is a disease that damages the optic nerve by increased pressure within the eye. The optic nerve carries information from the eye to the brain. Glaucoma causes no symptoms for many years. Annual eye exams especially later in life are the only way to diagnose the problem.

Most cases of glaucoma are genetic and occur in otherwise healthy eyes. There are many causes of secondary glaucoma including injury, inflammatory conditions, and as a complication of diabetes and other vascular problems of the eye.

While there are no surefire ways to prevent glaucoma, early detection is the best form of protection against the disease. Anyone can develop glaucoma, though some individuals are at higher risk including: people over 60, African Americans over 40, those with a family history of glaucoma and diabetics.

A comprehensive eye exam should be performed at least annually to diagnose glocoma, especially in individuals at greater risk. Simple and painless testing can make a diagnosis.

Once glaucoma is diagnosed, treatment should begin as soon as possible to help minimize the risk of permanent vision loss.

There is no cure for glaucoma. Treatment focuses on preventing damage to the optic nerve, thus maintaining eyesight. Most cases of glaucoma are treated with eye drops and laser treatments.

Dr. Stephen H. Uretsky of the Coastal Jersey Eye Center is a board-certified ophthalmologist specializing in a wide range of eye problems including the treatment of cataracts, glaucoma and other eye conditions, state-of-the-art surgical and laser procedures and prescribing glasses and contact lenses.

The Coastal Jersey Eye Center has offices in Linwood and Cape May Court House. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 927-3373 in Linwood, 465-7926 in Cape May Court House or see 

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