January Is Glaucoma Awareness Month

graph of US indicating 1/2 people do not know they have glaucoma and the importance of making a resolution to find out.

VisionAware partners with the National Eye Health Education Program (NEHEP) to provide essential resources and updated information about glaucoma and other eye conditions. 

According to NEHEP, glaucoma is a leading cause of vision loss and blindness in the United States, and it has no early symptoms. Therefore, half of those with glaucoma are unaware they have it.  

There is only one way to determine if you have the condition: get a comprehensive dilated eye exam. While there is no cure for glaucoma, getting a diagnosis and early treatment can often stop the damage and protect your vision.    

Therefore, as we enter a new year and make resolutions, NEHEP implores you to get a dilated eye exam. 

Stories About the Importance of Early Diagnosis, Treatment, and Referral to Vision Rehabilitation Services 

Former VisionAware Peer Steph McCoy discusses her journey with glaucoma and gives this sage advice:  

“I encourage readers to take your glaucoma diagnosis seriously, to find out all you can about it, and adhere to your treatment guidelines and schedule. Ask questions of your doctor and press for clear answers. Also, educate your doctor on the critical importance of learning skills to live with vision loss and referring patients for vision rehabilitation services so that regardless of what happens with their vision, they can live full and productive lives.” 

Joe Lovett, film director and producer of the documentary Going Blind, makes this plea in his personal story: 

“Too many people with vision loss could benefit from much earlier diagnosis and intervention and dramatically increased awareness of what’s possible in vision rehabilitation. I would ask that physicians don’t wait until we’ve lost much of our vision before they talk to us about vision rehabilitation, including the services and resources that can help us live most effectively and plan positively for the future.” 

Also, read Jasmine Polite’s story about glaucoma and the importance of learning braille. 

Virtual Reality Experience of Glaucoma 

NEHEP has put together a virtual reality app, See What I See, which shows what it’s like to live with vision loss from common eye diseases and offers a first-hand look at how conditions like glaucoma can impact your vision. Check out this preview of the glaucoma virtual reality experience

Additional Information  

Going Blind Update: Where is Joe Now? – YouTube 

Common Adult Eye Conditions – The National Research & Training Center on Blindness & Low Vision (instructure.com)