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Focus on: Glaucoma

Podcast—What can you do to protect your vision from glaucoma?

(ANNOUNCER OPEN): Early detection and treatment are the best ways to control glaucoma before major vision loss occurs.  People at higher risk for the disease—including African Americans over age 40; people over age 60, especially Mexican Americans; and people with a family history of glaucoma—should pay special attention to getting a comprehensive eye exam to check for glaucoma every one to two years.  Dr. Mildred Olivier, President and CEO of the Midwest Glaucoma Center, nationally noted glaucoma specialist, and previous member of the National Eye Institute’s National Eye Health Education Program Planning Committee, explains how these exams work.

(DR. MILDRED OLIVIER): … Well, the most important thing is really to go in and get a comprehensive eye examination.  And that means that you go into the eye professional, they put the drops in, they open up that black area, the pupil, and it opens up and allows for that eye care professional to look at the optic nerve and see how healthy it is.  In the process they’ll check your vision; they’ll put some numbing drops to check your pressure.  And that’s the most important thing because glaucoma has no warning signs, and if it’s left untreated, it can cause permanent vision loss.

(ANNOUNCER): Getting a comprehensive dilated eye exam isn’t the only way someone can protect their vision and reduce vision loss resulting from glaucoma.

(DR. MILDRED OLIVIER): … Tell other people.  If you are known to have glaucoma or you know somebody that does, tell other people.  Educate them to go out and get that comprehensive eye examination. …  We can therefore try to find half of the 2 million Americans that don’t even know they have glaucoma.  Just keep your vision in the future and get that dilated eye examination.

(ANNOUNCER CLOSE): For more information about what you can do to protect your vision from glaucoma, visit www.nei.nih.gov/glaucoma.  For the National Eye Institute, this has been a Focus On: Glaucoma.