Featured Video: Glaucoma Awareness

Glaucoma Awareness: National Eye Institute · Medical Marijuana · New Jersey Specialists

Glaucoma is an eye condition where the optic nerve, which affects the images sent to your brain, is damaged. The main cause of glaucoma is intense eye pressure, usually indicative of a faulty drainage system. As fluid builds in your eye, increasing pressure is applied to the optic nerve, and gradually your vision is impaired, or worse, lost. Once lost, the blindness is permanent.

Glaucoma is a leading cause of vision loss and blindness in the United States. People are often unaware that glaucoma has no symptoms in its early stages. But if detected early, before noticeable vision loss occurs, glaucoma can usually be controlled and severe vision loss can often be prevented. Vision that is lost from glaucoma cannot be restored.

Symptoms of glaucoma include: severe pain in the eye or forehead, eye redness, blurred or impaired vision, headache, and nausea.

Anyone can get glaucoma, especially those who have a family history. Annual comprehensive dilated eye exams are generally recommended starting at age 60, especially for Latinos/Hispanics. African Americans are advised to start having comprehensive dilated eye exams starting at age 40. It’s also especially important for people with diabetes to have a comprehensive dilated exam at least once a year.

Key elements of a comprehensive dilated eye examination include dilation, tonometry, visual field test and a visual acuity test. Dilation is an important part of a comprehensive eye exam because it enables your eye care professional to view the inside of the eye.

Drops placed in each eye widen the pupil, which is the opening in the center of the iris (the colored part of the eye). Dilating the pupil allows more light to enter the eye the same way opening a door allows light into a dark room. Once dilated, each eye is examined using a special magnifying lens that provides a clear view of important tissues at the back of the eye, including the retina, the macula, and the optic nerve.

Marijuana has been demonstrated to be a safe, effective means of combating the symptoms of glaucoma. Properties within cannabis target the pressure in the eye, and decrease it at a noticeable rate. With eye pressure decreased, glaucoma is reduced, which preserves vision, alleviates pain from headaches and reduces nausea.

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