Vision quest: Glaucoma proves to be a stealthy opponent

Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness and visual impairment, affecting as many as 2.2 million people in the U.S. The condition has no warning signs, so many people do not realize they have it.

UT Southwestern Medical Center ophthalmologists are encouraging people at risk– those older than 40, with a family history of glaucoma, or of African-American or Hispanic heritage – to be tested. Using drops in the eyes that dilate a patient’s pupils, eye care professionals can check for signs of glaucoma.

“With early detection and treatment, vision loss can often be prevented,” says Dr. Jess Whitson, an ophthalmologist at UT Southwestern. He recommends having a dilated eye exam every one to two years, and the start of a new year is a perfect reminder to get this important preventive test done. 

Glaucoma is a group of diseases that can damage the optic nerve in the eye. In its most common form, fluid builds up in the front chamber of the eye, and resulting eye pressure damages the optic nerve.

As the disease progresses, people with glaucoma may notice their side vision gradually failing. Left untreated, glaucoma can lead to serious vision loss or blindness as the field of vision narrows.

For more information on UT Southwestern’s clinical services in ophthalmology, call 214-645-2020, or visit

January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month.

Media Contact: Robin Russell