Learning more about the silent thief of sight


FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA) — January is Glaucoma Awareness Month and doctors say it’s important to know the sight stealing disease can affect anybody.

Over three million Americans are living with glaucoma, but about half of them don’t even know they have it

“The only way to really reliably diagnose glaucoma is to get a thorough, complete eye exam,” said Dr. George Tanaka, glaucoma specialist at Vold Vision in Fayetteville. “So the tragedy is people come in and they’re noticing some problems with their vision and it’s already almost too late to save them.”

Dr. Tanaka said African Americans, Hispanics, older patients, and people who have a family history of the disease are most at risk. While peripheral vision is usually first to go, it’s only a matter of time before vision loss or even blindless kicks in.

“The way I kind of describe it is like you’re in a dark room and you’ve got a flashlight,” Dr. Tanaka said. “Anything you put the flashlight on, you can see. But everything outside and around the flashlight is gone.”

Dr. Tanaka said the disease is incurable but can be treated and managed with early detection.

In honor of Glaucoma Awareness Month, Vold Vision is hosting free eye screenings during the month of January. To schedule a screening, call the eye care center at 479-442-8653.

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