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HHS HealthBeat (April 5, 2012)

Watching out for glaucoma

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From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, I’m Ira Dreyfuss with HHS HealthBeat.

Glaucoma can sneak up on a person. The eye condition damages the optic nerve that carries information to the brain. Glaucoma can affect the outer edges of the field of vision – the side vision. At Yale School of Medicine, Dr. James Tsai says glaucoma can come on so slowly that, in its early stages, people might not be aware it’s happening.

Dr. Tsai, who chairs the glaucoma education program committee of the National Institutes of Health, says it’s important to get an examination every one or two years:

“The eye care professional has to do a dilated exam and carefully look at the optic nerve for signs of glaucoma as well as assess the side vision in that patient.”  (10 seconds)

Dr. Tsai says the risk is higher for African-Americans and older people.

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HHS HealthBeat is a production of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. I’m Ira Dreyfuss.

Last revised: April 5, 2012