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Glaucoma, the second leading cause of blindness in the world, is preventable through regular annual eye exams, according to Dr. Michael Caruso, ophthalmic physician and surgeon at Atlantic Eye Center. This local eye surgeon is spreading the word about this debilitating disease that can permanently destroy vision if left untreated.

Glaucoma is an eye disease that damages the optic nerve, leading to gradual vision loss. Any vision lost by glaucoma cannot be regained but can be prevented.

It is estimated that over 4 million Americans have glaucoma but only half of those know they have it, according to the Glaucoma Research Foundation. Anyone of any age may be affected by glaucoma. However, there are certain high-risk groups: people over 60, family members of those already diagnosed, diabetics, and people who are severely farsighted.

A Disease Without Symptoms

In the early stages of glaucoma, there are virtually no symptoms. There is no pain, even if there is increased pressure in the eye. Glaucoma progresses with vision loss. At first, people may experience loss of peripheral vision. They may compensate for this loss by turning their head to the side. Vision loss will continue as the disease progresses.

Hope Through Testing

“The best way to protect against glaucoma is to get tested,” according to Dr. Caruso. “Glaucoma is not curable, but it can be treated with medication or surgery. Vision loss may be prevented. But glaucoma is also a chronic condition. It must be monitored and treated for life.”

At Atlantic Eye Center, glaucoma evaluations are part of each annual examination. The practice uses a state-of-the-art OCT to take a picture of the optic nerve. Eye pressure also is checked. If either appears abnormal, treatment is begun. Eye drops are the initial prescription. Surgery is rare and a last resort. Patients with glaucoma are checked on a four-month schedule to ensure that treatment is effective.

For more information on Atlantic Eye Center, or to schedule an appointment, visit www.DoctorMichaelCaruso.com or call 609-465-1616 or find us on Facebook.

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