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    Yes, I am Talking About Glaucoma

    by Ngozi Osuagwu, MD | January 26th, 2020

    Yes, I am Talking About Glaucoma

    It would be easy as a gynecologist to say that I only deal with problems from the waist down but when you hear that glaucoma is the leading cause of irreversible blindness in the United States and the world and that half the people in the United States who have glaucoma do not know they have it, you cannot ignore the waist up. Keeping my sisters alive and healthy is about taking care of our whole body – waist up and down.

    January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month.  Two weeks ago, I was reminding you to get your pap smear and this week I want to remind you to get your comprehensive dilated eye exam. It is the only way to find out if you have glaucoma.

    Here are some facts:

    1. Glaucoma is a group of diseases that can cause damage to the optic nerve in the eye. The damage is caused by fluid buildup in your eye causing increase pressure that leads to damage to the nerve. When there is damage to the optic nerve, it causes problems with the vision. Your vision can be saved with early detection and treatment.
    2. There are no early symptoms. Glaucoma does not have early warning signs. There is no pain or blurry vision until you have advanced disease. You do not have to wait to have symptoms in your eyes to see to get a comprehensive dilated eye exam.
    3. Glaucoma can happen to anyone but there are some people that are at higher risk who should definitely get their comprehensive dilated eye exam:
      1. African Americans over age 40
      1. Adults over 60 years old especially Hispanics/Latinos
      1. People with family history of glaucoma
    4. Glaucoma cannot be cured, but it can be treated to keep it from getting worse. Catching it early is the best way to protect your vision.
    5. Your vision can be saved with early detection and treatment. Get your comprehensive dilated eye exam.

    If you are not sure how to schedule your eye exam, please talk with your primary care physician. If you are getting prescription eye glasses, ask your optometrist about the comprehensive dilated exam. Some optometrists will refer you to the ophthalmologist. For more information on glaucoma, please click here.

    Source: National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health (NEI/NIH)


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    With her trademark wit and straightforward communication, Dr. Osuagwu continues to dole out valuable medical advice using the letter form and addressing women’s health conditions and issues in a method that was praised for its innovative approach in her earlier award-winning book, Letters to My Sisters: Plain Truths and Straightforward Advice from a Gynecologist. In this book, each letter is paired with reference sources and statistics about the condition that is the subject of the letter.

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    The book discusses common gynecological and women’s health issues in a series of witty and entertaining letters. These letters, all educational, offer suggestions on what approaches to take in tackling the medical problems that typically bring women to an ob/gynecologist. The letters are spiced with art, a poem and quotes. Although its emphasis is on gynecology and women’s health, it touches on some other medical issues that make women visit their doctors.

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