January is Glaucoma Awareness Month. Start the New Year Off Right.

As you plan for a healthier new year, why not add this sight-saving exercise to your list of resolutions: Get a comprehensive dilated eye exam. It’s the only way to find out for sure whether you have glaucoma, one of the leading causes of blindness in America.

An eye disease that can rob you of your vision, glaucoma often comes with no early warning. No pain. No discomfort. No blurry vision. Nearly 3 million people have glaucoma, yet half don’t know they have it.

Glaucoma starts with a buildup of fluid that increases the pressure in your eye and can cause damage to the optic nerve, the bundle of nerve fibers that transfers visual images to your brain. Glaucoma first affects your peripheral, or side, vision. As the disease advances, more noticeable vision loss will occur, and if not controlled, the disease can lead to permanent vision loss and blindness.

Are you at higher risk for glaucoma? You could be if you:

• Are African American and age 40 or older
• Are over age 60, especially if you are Hispanic/Latino
• Have a family history of the disease

Everyone, especially those at higher risk, should make it a point to get a comprehensive dilated eye exam every year as recommended by your doctor here at South Jersey Eye Associates. Early detection and treatment are the best ways to control glaucoma.

This year, make a resolution for healthier vision. Make sure your eyes are healthy and you are seeing your best in the new year. Schedule a comprehensive dilated eye exam and encourage your friends and loved ones to do the same.

This message is provided with the support National Eye Health Education Program.