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January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month

Glaucoma, often referred to as “the silent thief of sight”, can occur with no warning signs, pain or symptoms. It affects 3 million people in the United States and has caused blindness in over 120,000 people. Glaucoma cannot be cured, but if detected early can be managed to limit its effects.

Glaucoma usually occurs when there is an increase of pressure within your eye, but can occur with normal eye pressure as well. This pressure causes damage to the optic nerve, which is the weakest part of your eye, leading to decreased peripheral vision and possibly blindness.

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Dilation Exam - Closed Caption

The colored part of the eye is called the iris. It is composed of two muscles. The constrictor and the dilator. The black circle at the center of the iris is called the pupil and is actually just an opening to allow light into the eye. The pupil appears black because the inside of the eye contains pigment to absorb all of the light that enters it, not allowing any of it to reflect back out.

When light enters your eye there is a muscular reflex in your iris to regulate the amount of light that hits the retina. Too much light and constrict muscles tighten to making your pupil smaller to limit the amount of light entering your eye. Not enough light and the dilator muscles contract allowing your pupil to get bigger.

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