National Glaucoma Awareness Month is recognized throughout January. It is a time to spread the word about a disease known as the sneak thief of sight for its gradual progression of vision loss.
Currently, more than three million people in the U.S. have glaucoma, making it the second leading cause of blindness and the leading cause of preventable blindness.
What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that can gradually cause blindness. Although middle-aged people and the elderly are most affected by glaucoma, it can affect people of all ages.
Vision loss is a result of damage to the optic nerve, which carries images from the eye to the brain. The two types of glaucoma, open-angular and angle-closure, are marked by an increase in intraocular pressure, which is pressure inside the eye.
If optic nerve damage has occurred even though you have a normal intraocular pressure, it is considered normal tension glaucoma.
If optic nerve damage and vision loss result from increased eye pressure caused by or contributed to by another disease, it is considered secondary glaucoma.
Glaucoma does not have symptoms and is often difficult to notice because vision loss usually starts with the peripheral, or side vision, before moving to central vision.
Although there is no cure for glaucoma, there are treatments that can help slow its effects. If left untreated, however, glaucoma can lead to untreatable damage and blindness. This is why it is important to have regular eye exams in order to detect and stop the progression of vision loss.
Disability Benefits Are Available
If you have been diagnosed with glaucoma, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability (SSDI) benefits. The Social Security Administration acknowledges that it may be challenging to work with vision loss and therefore makes benefits available to those with severe vision loss or blindness. There are some special rules that apply for blind applicants.
A disability attorney can be helpful in navigating the disability appeals process if you have been denied the benefits you need. Contact a Social Security disability benefits attorney in Phoenix today for a free consultation.