Promoting Glaucoma Awareness Month 2018 | News | Loyola Medicine
Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Loyola Medicine Raises Awareness of Glaucoma

Woman undergoing eye exam
MAYWOOD, IL – From the moment we wake until the time we go to bed, our eyes are working to see, process information and guide us through our day. Yet for most people, you may never know that a sneaking "thief" could be lurking in your eye, ready to take your vision–glaucoma.
January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month and Loyola Medicine ophthalmologist Meenakshi Chaku, MD, a glaucoma specialist, says awareness is key for preventing vision loss due to glaucoma.
Meenakshi Chaku, MDGlaucoma is a condition that causes damage to the optic nerve, resulting in vision loss and blindness. A risk factor can be elevated high eye pressure but glaucoma can also occur at normal pressures inside the eye.
"Healthy eye pressure falls between the range of 10 to 21," said Dr. Chaku. "Eye pressure higher than 21 can become a risk factor for glaucoma."
Those at higher risk for glaucoma include people of African, Caribbean and Latin decent, people over 60, people with a family history of glaucoma, diabetics and people who are extremely nearsighted.
There are seven types of glaucoma with the most common being primary open angle glaucoma. When the eye cannot function normally, it leads to damage of the optic nerve, which communicates to the brain and transmits images to the brain. If left untreated, it can cause permanent loss of vision.
For too many patients, the symptoms of glaucoma go unnoticed until it's too late.
"It's called a silent thief because patients feel fine until there's deterioration of peripheral vision," Dr. Chaku said. "Glaucoma is an aging disease and can strike at any time. When people notice changes in their peripheral vision, it is already in the late stages of the disease. Patients have no symptoms in the initial stages of the disease."
Regular eye examinations are critical for early detention, especially for people who are at higher risk. While there is no cure for glaucoma, medication, laser and surgical intervention surgery can prevent or slow down vision loss.
Loyola Medicine's department of ophthalmology offers a complete range of comprehensive and subspecialty eye care. Together with Loyola optometrists, the ophthalmologists offer primary through tertiary care, comprehensive diagnostic services and personalized treatment for adults and children.

About Loyola Medicine and Trinity Health

Loyola Medicine, a member of Trinity Health, is a quaternary care system based in the western suburbs of Chicago that includes Loyola University Medical Center (LUMC), Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, MacNeal Hospital and convenient locations offering primary and specialty care services from 1,877 physicians throughout Cook, Will and DuPage counties. LUMC is a 547-licensed-bed hospital in Maywood that includes the William G. and Mary A. Ryan Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine, the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, a Level 1 trauma center, Illinois's largest burn center, a certified comprehensive stroke center and a children’s hospital. Having delivered compassionate care for over 50 years, Loyola also trains the next generation of caregivers through its teaching affiliation with Loyola University Chicago’s Stritch School of Medicine and Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing. Gottlieb is a 247-licensed-bed community hospital in Melrose Park with 150 physician offices, an adult day care program, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, the Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park. MacNeal Hospital is a 374-bed teaching hospital in Berwyn with advanced inpatient and outpatient medical, surgical and psychiatric services, advanced diagnostics and treatments. MacNeal has a 12-bed acute rehabilitation unit, a 25-bed inpatient skilled nursing facility, and a 68-bed behavioral health program and community clinics. MacNeal has provided quality, patient-centered care to the near west suburbs since 1919.

Trinity Health is one of the largest multi-institutional Catholic healthcare systems in the nation, serving diverse communities that include more than 30 million people across 22 states. Trinity Health includes 94 hospitals, as well as 109 continuing care locations that include PACE programs, senior living facilities and home care and hospice services. Its continuing care programs provide nearly 2.5 million visits annually. Based in Livonia, Mich., and with annual operating revenues of $18.3 billion and assets of $26.2 billion, the organization returns $1.1 billion to its communities annually in the form of charity care and other community benefit programs. Trinity employs about 133,000 colleagues, including 7,800 employed physicians and clinicians. Committed to those who are poor and underserved in its communities, Trinity is known for its focus on the country's aging population. As a single, unified ministry, the organization is the innovator of Senior Emergency Departments, the largest not-for-profit provider of home health care services—ranked by number of visits—in the nation, as well as the nation’s leading provider of PACE (Program of All Inclusive Care for the Elderly) based on the number of available programs.