Has someone in your family had glaucoma, making you curious if you carry the genetic disease as well?
Dr. Lawrence Buono, of North Shore Eye Care, is here to help. On Thursday, Dec. 17 from 10 a.m. to noon, the opthamologist will offer free glaucoma screenings at Eastern Long Island Hospital.
According to the Mayo Clinic, a nonprofit medical care center, glaucoma is “a group of eye conditions that damage the optic nerve, which is vital to good vision. This damage is often caused by an abnormally high pressure in your eye.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 2.2 million, or 2 percent, of Americans over 40 years old are diagnosed with the disease.
In addition to being an attending physician and partner at North Shore Eye Care, Dr. Buono is a physician at Southampton Hospital, Peconic Bay Medical Center and ELIH, where he is the chairman of surgery.
We talked to him about some of the signs of glaucoma and how it can be treated.
Q: What do you look for when you’re checking to see if someone has glaucoma?
A: Well, first we’ll ask them if there’s a family history, because often glaucoma does have a family history component, and there’s a genetic aspect to it. So, we’ll ask about family history and we’ll also screen them based on age. Being over the age of 40 is a risk factor. And then we will do a check of their eye pressure, which is another risk factor for glaucoma.
Q: If someone already has poor vision are they more at risk than those with 20/20 vision?
A: Well, there are some people with certain eyeglass prescriptions that would be at increased risk. People with high myopia are at increased risk for glaucoma.
Q: Are there any symptoms or warning signs people should look for?
A: Typically, no. Glaucoma is typically a silent-disease process, so it’s really just only through screenings that you can detect glaucoma.
Q: What is the treatment for someone with glaucoma?
A: Typically we start them on eye drops that lower the eye pressure.
Q: Why do you think it’s important people come to the screening and get checked for glaucoma?
A: I think it’s an easy way for them to find out if they are at increased risk for glaucoma. Certainly, it’s something they can do if they regularly see their eye care provider. This is just an easy way to get that done. And it’s free.
Photo Caption: Eastern Long Island Hospital, where the free glaucoma screenings will take place on Dec. 17 (Credit: File Photo).