January is Glaucoma Awareness Month: Protect Sight with Comprehensive Eye Exams


More than 3 million people in the United States have glaucoma1. The National Eye Institute projects this number will reach 4.2 million by 2030, a 58% increase.2

Glaucoma is one of the leading cause of irreversible blindness in the United States and the world.3 Over 3 million Americans, and over 60 million people worldwide, have glaucoma with estimates that half of those people do not know they have the disease.4 Combined with an aging population, there is an epidemic of blindness looming if awareness does not increase surrounding the importance of regular eye examinations to preserve vision. The World Health Organization estimates that 4.5 million people worldwide are blind due to glaucoma.2

Approximately 120,000 Americans have gone blind from glaucoma, accounting for 9-12% of all cases of blindness.5 January has been named National Glaucoma Awareness Month as an important time to spread knowledge of the sight-stealing disease.  Vision loss due to glaucoma typically starts in the periphery and it is often not noticed until it is more advanced vision loss.  Once vision is lost, it cannot be restored.

What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that progress gradually, stealing sight, without showing symptoms. The word ‘glaucoma’ is actually an umbrella term for a group of eye diseases that damage the delicate fibers that run from your eye to your optic nerve, which is the nerve that carries information about the images your eye sees to your brain. Damage is often the result of high fluid pressure inside the eye. Glaucoma can affect people of all ages but is most prevalent in middle-aged adults and the elderly. While there is no cure, surgery or medication can slow its effects and help to prevent further vision loss.

Types of Glaucoma

There are two main types of glaucoma: primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG), and angle-closure glaucoma. These are often accompanied by an increase of intraocular pressure (IOP) or pressure inside the eye. Sometimes, optic nerve damage even with a normal IOP, this is called “normal tension” glaucoma. Secondary glaucoma refers to any case in which another disease causes or contributes to increased eye pressure, resulting in optic nerve damage and vision loss.

Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness in the world and as previously stated, the most common form exhibits virtually no symptoms. Peripheral vision is often the first to go but is often unnoticed which is why glaucoma in many cases goes undetected. The best way to detect, prevent, treat, and protect vision from glaucoma is routine, comprehensive eye exams. It is also important to know who is at risk of developing glaucoma to adequately prepare. Those at higher risk include people of African, Asian, and Hispanic descent. Other high-risk groups include people over 60, family members of those already diagnosed, diabetics, and people who are severely nearsighted.6 


optomap shows equivalence for glaucoma awareness


optomap® provides details needed for specialty exams, while simultaneously delivering an integrated view to the eye.  Glaucoma can best be detected through a comprehensive eye exam that includes imaging of the optic nerve such as provided by optomap. OCT imaging can also contribute to early detection. Utililizing a multi-modal ultra-widefield imaging device such as Monaco, can provide both optomap and integrated OCT in a single capture.

optomap enables eyecare professionals to discover, diagnose, document, and treat ocular pathology. Currently, the gold standard tool for glaucoma detection is a clinical examination with a dilated slit-lamp bio-microscopy carried out by a glaucoma specialist to assess the optic disc. Recent studies suggest that UWF imaging may be suitable for diagnosing glaucoma in situations where slit-lamp biomicroscopy or digital color stereoscopy are not available.7 Another study also confirms that optomap has almost perfect agreement with color digital stereoscopy when assessed by a glaucoma specialist. Continued reading on this study can be found here

optomap is an innovative technology backed by clinical evidence as well as a fast and easy addition to a standard comprehensive eye exam. 

To find out more information on how optomap can enable you to detect and manage glaucoma in your patient base, contact Optos, today.

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1.Don’t Lose Sight of Glaucoma – Information for People at Risk. NIH Publication No. 12-3251 (revised 2012)
2. https://glaucoma.org/january-is-glaucoma-awareness-month/
3: Quigley, H. A., Broman, A. T., “The number of people with glaucoma worldwide in 2010 and 2020,” British Journal of Ophthalmology (2006); 90:262–267. doi: 10.1136/bjo.2005.081224
4. https://www.cdc.gov/visionhealth/resources/features/glaucoma-awareness.html
5. https://www.glaucoma.org/glaucoma/glaucoma-facts-and-stats.php
6. https://www.pacesp.com/blog/glaucoma-awareness-month
7. Quinn NB, Azuara-Blanco A, Graham K, Hogg RE, Young IS, Kee F. Can ultra-wide field retinal imaging replace colour digital stereoscopy for glaucoma detection? Ophthalmic Epidemiol. 2018 Feb;25(1):63-69. doi: 10.1080/09286586.2017.1351998. Epub 2017 Sep 18. PMID: 28920761.