2.7 million people aged over 40 in America have glaucoma, with this number predicted to rise to 4.2 million by 2030. Known as the “sneak thief of sight”, patients with glaucoma can lose up to 40% of their vision without noticing.
Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness, affecting around 12 million people worldwide, according to the WHO (World Health Organization). It is also the leading cause of preventable blindness. Glaucoma affects the nerves behind the eyes, starting with loss of peripheral vision and leading, if untreated, to total vision loss.
What is Glaucoma?
The term glaucoma refers to a groups of diseases that result in the gradual loss of eyesight. Although it most commonly affects middle aged and elderly people, glaucoma can affect people of any age.
The optic nerve situated at the back of the eye is like a cable, carrying the signal of what you have seen from your eye, to your brain for translation. In glaucoma, damage occurs in the optic nerve as the result of a build-up of pressure. Initially, the build-up of pressure will cause peripheral vision to be damaged, then lost; if untreated or undetected, glaucoma can lead to complete vision loss.
Types of Glaucoma
There are two primary types of glaucoma; POAG, or primary open-angle glaucoma, and angle-closure glaucoma. Both types involve increased pressure inside the eye (also known as intraocular pressure, or IOP). Optic nerve damage that arises despite a normal IOP is known as normal tension glaucoma, whilst secondary glaucoma is the term used to describe instances where IOP arises as the result of another disease or condition, which results in optic nerve damage and the loss of vision.
Glaucoma: Risk Factors
The following groups are at a higher risk of developing glaucoma:
- Those of African, Asian or Hispanic descent.
- People over 60 years old.
- Individuals with family members who have been diagnosed with glaucoma.
- People who are severely nearsighted.
If you find yourself in any of these risk categories, it is important that you have your eyes tested regularly so that any changes in your vision are detected as early as possible.
In the United States right now, around 120,000 are blind as the result of glaucoma. This accounts for between 9% and 12% of all blindness in America. Whether you have glaucoma, are at high risk of developing the condition, or know someone who has been affected by glaucoma, you can help by raising awareness of the disease this Awareness Month.
Talk to family and friends about the condition; if you have glaucoma, don’t hide it, discuss how you were diagnosed, let people know and allow them to support you. You never know; by bringing glaucoma to the attention of the people around you, you could help to save someone’s vision.
Stem Cell Treatment and Glaucoma
As the world of stem cell application continues to expand, ongoing research continues to demonstrate the potential to halt or even reverse the damage caused by a range of progressive conditions, including glaucoma.
At Stem Cell Application Mexico we remain at the forefront of stem cell application treatment and ongoing trials. We are a BioHeart Center of excellence, contributing to best practice for stem cell application all over the world and as a result we are able to offer safe, effective stem cell application for a range of conditions well before it becomes more widely available.
If you would like to find out more about how stem cell application could help to treat your glaucoma, contact one of our US case managers today for a free, no obligation consultation.