Glaucoma: The Disease That Steals Your Sight

Posted January 5th, 2012 by

January Is National Glaucoma Awareness Month

Did you know that as much as 40% of your vision can be lost due to glaucoma – without  your notice?

That’s why they call glaucoma the “sneak thief of sight.”  There are no symptoms, and once your vision is lost, it’s permanent.  This is one of the urgent messages of National Glaucoma Awareness Month, which takes place every January.  (And for good reason – according to a National Eye Institute survey, only 8% of Americans are aware of the fact that glaucoma has no early symptoms.)

Over four million Americans have glaucoma, and given its stealth progression, approximately half of them don’t know it.  The leading cause of preventable blindness, glaucoma is more prevalent in African American and Latino populations.  For example, it is six to eight times more prevalent in African Americans than Caucasians.  People who are severely nearsighted, have diabetes or who have family members with glaucoma are also at higher risk.

A Snapshot of the Glaucoma Community at PatientsLikeMe

While there is no cure for glaucoma, there are treatments (including medication and surgery) that can help slow or prevent vision loss.  That’s why it’s so important to have regular eye exams, especially if you are over 60.  The disease can strike at younger ages, though, as the data from our glaucoma community at PatientsLikeMe shows.  Of the 107 members reporting the disease, approximately 60% are between the ages of 40 and 59.

Haven’t been to the eye doctor in a while?  Make an appointment today for your peace of mind.


  1. I remember when my dad got glaucoma…seemed like it just happened out of nowhere.

    And if he had had regular eye exams, he would have been able to prevent or at least slow the progress.

    I can’t urge anyone reading this enough, make sure your family members get regular eye exams!!

  2. Glaucoma hit me out of the blue in September just gone 2012. Felt nauseous and “spaced out” so eventually took myself off to bed. By 3.a.m. next morning was being violently sick and sight in left eye began disappearing, also had a terrible pain in the back of my head near base of skull. Called an ambulance and was whipped of the hospital. Put me on a drip and gave me anti nauseau tabs. When I insisted that I could not see properly pot of left eye they referred me to Eye Department in hospital where they found the pressure in my left eye was sky high. Promptly got to work on me and brought it down,then sent me home. After about a week I returned and everything seemed to have settled but they insisted on doing laser treatment (on two occasions). Unfortunately, this has not worked any they want to operate on 13th Jan. Now could someone please advise me re having this op as I feel had I not had the laser treatment everything would be back to normal. Instead I did as they advised and I am now worse. I am very, very nervous and anxious now and they say they will do it under anesthetic(?), What should I do. Any advice greatly appreciated.
    I also have CFS/FM/Cs as well.
    Many thanks.

  3. How scary, Avril! I’m glad you’re doing okay and working to find a effective treatment. While we’re not medical professionals and cannot give medical advice, I suggest you join and reach out to others with glaucoma to learn from their experiences.

    If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

    Best wishes,
    Liz Morgan, PatientsLikeMe Community Manager

  4. I have been treating glaucoma for about 20 years with a variety of ophthalmic drops. I never had high pressure readings – 14 without treatment. With the drops the pressure stayed at about 12. However, through the years I have developed allergies to almost everything except Xalatan and Azopt. I am now 68 years old and this disease has advanced. I have had SLT procedures which lowered the pressure to 9 or 10 for 5-6 months and now the pressure is higher than ever – 19 with the use of the 2 remaining prescription drops that I can tolerate. I have lost a significant amount of vision in my left eye; i still have 20/30 vision in the right, but it too is deteriorating. I am considering having more surgery to place a shunt in my eye, but I know no one who has had this surgery. I would so appreciate hearing from others who have undergone this procedure and hearing of the outcome.

  5. Hi I start having pain in my left eye all of sudden along with floaters.. In nov 2014 doctor told me I have a pressure of 29 in both eyes.. then after many followups its was minimum of 25 and never less than that. Doc told me I may get glaucoma in next 5 years as I have thin cornea aswell..they checked my visual field test along with other test and wants follow up checkups aswell in future…I am very affraid.. dont want to get blind.. I am only 27 years old and I have 3 years old daughter.. want to explore world… any advice…

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