January is Glaucoma Awareness Month

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Summit Medical Group Offers Information on Glaucoma Risks, Screening and Treatment

Detecting glaucoma early is critical for keeping the disease from getting worse

During Glaucoma Awareness Month, Summit Medical Group wants to help people understand its risks, screening and treatment. Glaucoma is a degenerative disease of the eyes that causes vision loss. Because there often are no symptoms in its early stages, many people do not know they have it.

Risk
Glaucoma can affect people of all ages and races; however, certain people are at higher risk for it than others. For example, it is more common in people age 60 years or more. In addition, people of African and Hispanic descent have higher rates of glaucoma and associated blindness than those of other ethnic backgrounds. Researchers are unsure why the disease is more common in certain people, but they believe genetics has a role in who gets the disease. Level of care also is associated with its severity and how quickly it progresses.

Other risk factors for glaucoma include:

•Diabetes mellitus
•Elevated pressure in the eye(s)
•Family history
•High blood pressure
•Injury to the eye(s)
•Nearsightedness
•Low central cornea thickness (less than .5 mm)
•Obesity
•Steroid use
Screening
“Detecting glaucoma early is critical for keeping the disease from getting worse," notes ophthalmologist Eric B. Gurwin, MD, of Summit Medical Group. “We recommend that people be screened every 1 to 2 years to ensure the health of their eyes. This frequency of screening is especially important for people who are at high risk for glaucoma.”

Treatment
There is no cure for glaucoma. In some patients, however, medication, laser surgery, and certain traditional surgical procedures can help prevent or slow vision loss. An ophthalmologist will consider many factors, including the type of glaucoma a person has, medical and family history, ethnicity, and overall health, when determining a treatment plan that is best.

For more information, contact Summit Medical Group Ophthalmology at 908-277-8682.

About Summit Medical Group:
Summit Medical Group pioneered information technology advances in healthcare with its early adoption of electronic health records and e-prescribing. With over 140 highly qualified physicians, it is one of the most unique healthcare models in the state. The Group has been named as one of the "Fifty Fastest Growing Companies" in the state by NJBiz Magazine and has a national award-winning customer service program. SMG treats over 55,000 patients per month at its main campus in Berkeley Heights, and area satellites in Berkeley Heights, Morristown, Shorts Hills, Summit, Warren, and Westfield. Summit Medical Group plays a major role in the American Medical Group Association (AMGA) along with the Mayo Clinic, the Lahey Clinic and the Geisinger Clinic. As one of the premier multi-specialty groups on the East Coast, Summit Medical Group has provided exceptional primary and specialty care since 1929. For more information, visit http://www.summitmedicalgroup.com.

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Maureen Bennett
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