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Ophthalmology, Navicent Health Recognizes January as Glaucoma Awareness Month

Treatments are available to slow the progression of many irreversible eye diseases

Everyone is at risk for glaucoma, but the aging process can increase one's risk of developing this vision impairing disorder. Ophthalmology, Atrium Health Navicent recognizes January as Glaucoma Awareness Month and seeks to educate members of the community about the resources available to maintain eye health and to treat glaucoma.

"Several vision impairing eye diseases are often associated with the aging process. We can't stop the aging process, but we can change its impact on our quality of life through medical treatments and early diagnosis of glaucoma and other vision-impairing eye diseases," said Monali Sakhalkar, M.D., ophthalmologist with Ophthalmology, Atrium Health Navicent.

Ophthalmology, Atrium Health Navicent provides the following information about glaucoma:

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), glaucoma can damage the optic nerve and cause vision impairment and blindness. While it is a leading cause of vision impairment, early diagnosis and treatment can prevent vision loss.

Glaucoma normally occurs when fluid pressure within the eye rises, but the condition can also occur without an increase in pressure.

There are two types of glaucoma, open angle and closed angle. Open angle occurs over time and is not noticed until the disease has progressed greatly. Closed angle happens suddenly and is associated with pain. Seek medical attention immediately to prevent permanent damage.

Glaucoma affects an estimated 2.5 million Americans, and can have other rare forms. Congenital glaucoma develops before birth, for example, and the use of medications like corticosteroids can also lead to the development of glaucoma.

Treatment options may include the use of eye drops to lower fluid pressure in the eyes, or laser surgery. While there is no cure, an effective treatment plan can reduce permanent damage.

Precautions can be taken to reduce the likelihood of developing this disease. Maintaining a healthy weight, not smoking, exercising regularly, eating a balanced diet and wearing protective eyewear in the sun can ensure eye health at any age.

"As with many diseases, maintaining a healthy lifestyle may reduce the chances of an individual developing glaucoma. One aspect of a healthy lifestyle is scheduling regular eye exams, so if any problems develop, they can be detected early," said Dr. Sakhalkar.

If you or a loved one have vision concerns, Ophthalmology, Atrium Health Navicent is here to help. Call 478-633-8033 to schedule an appointment or visit for more information.

About Atrium Health Navicent

Atrium Health Navicent, the leading provider of healthcare in central and south Georgia, is committed to its mission of elevating health and wellbeing through compassionate care. Providing more than 1,000 beds and offering care in 53 specialties at more than 50 facilities throughout the region, Atrium Health Navicent provides care for healthcare consumers' through an academic medical center; community, pediatric and rehabilitation hospitals; urgent care centers; physician practices; diagnostic centers; home health; hospice and palliative care; and a life plan community. Atrium Health Navicent is dedicated enhancing health and wellness for individuals throughout the region through nationally-recognized quality care, community health initiatives and collaborative partnerships. For more information, please visit