Eye exams can detect vision-robbing glaucoma

February 9, 2012

For transportation workers, our eyes are among the most important tools of our trade. Lose your eyesight and you lose your livelihood.

That’s why every transportation worker should be aware that an eye disease called glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness, affecting more than three million Americans.

Glaucoma often is called a “sneak thief”, because it has no apparent symptoms. Undiagnosed glaucoma, which attacks the optic nerve, can rob us of 40 percent of our eyesight slowly, but progressively — and before we fully realize the problem. Once glaucoma robs us of our vision, there is no cure.

However, medication and/or surgery can slow down or prevent loss of vision.

While glaucoma has no symptoms, there are events you should be aware of – events that should send you immediately to an eye doctor:

* Any loss of vision

* Unexplained eye pain

* Unusual or unexpected eye redness

* Haloes

* Blurred vision

Those with a family history of glaucoma, those with diabetes, those with high blood pressure and those severely nearsighted or farsighted are most at risk of developing glaucoma.

Annual eye examinations can detect glaucoma and provide a treatment to slow or prevent it from robbing you of your eyesight.