Often called “the sneak thief of sight,” glaucoma happens so gradually that many people don’t know they have it until significant blindness occurs. In fact, there are no symptoms of glaucoma, and 40% of vision can be lost before a person notices.

Fortunately, glaucoma is also the most preventable form of blindness, and the best defense is getting a regular eye exam. The earlier the disease is caught, the greater chance of preventing any or additional vision loss.

But what can be done for those who already suffer vision loss from glaucoma? Since vision loss from glaucoma can’t be restored once it’s lost, many individuals need accommodations in order to remain effective in their jobs.

Fortunately, adaptations for workers with glaucoma are simple, inexpensive and involve just three basic steps.

  1. Reduce the glare. For those who use a computer, reducing glare is essential for seeing what’s on the screen. This can be done using a monitor filter or an anti-glare matte screen. Keeping monitors away from windows will also reduce glare on the screen.
  2. Create contrast. Window light also decreases contrast on a computer screen, making it harder for anyone to see, but especially those with vision loss from glaucoma. In addition to keeping monitors away from windows, consider using window coverings that can block light from coming in if necessary. Alternating the color of carpet, desk and walls can also help to create contrast in an office space and make navigating while moving about much easier and safer.
  3. Clear a path. A clear path for walking and moving about in the workplace isn’t just a good idea for those with vision problems, it’s a good idea for everyone’s safety. However, when contrast and glare are already problems, having a clear path for navigating around your workspace is doubly important for safety.

In addition to the above suggestions, individuals with partial vision loss can also use special computers that enlarge documents to help them see information better. Another option that many find helpful is wearing tinted lenses to help reduce glare as well as increase contrast.

If you have glaucoma, communication with the people in your life is crucial not just for your ability to remain effective in your job but also to help others understand your situation. So, remember to communicate with your”¦

  1. Employer. Let your boss know of any accommodations that will help you continue to do your job well even with vision loss from glaucoma.
  2. Co-Workers. Let them know of your situation. They”™ll likely be happy to help you keep the work environment safe.
  3. Family & Friends. They also want to help you stay safe, so don’t be afraid to let them know about your glaucoma.

Not only can these individuals help keep you stay safe and effective in the workplace, they may even have additional suggestions for helping you see better that you hadn”™t thought of yet. In addition, telling the people in your life about your glaucoma will also help create awareness of this disease that The National Eye Institute says will increase 58% by 2030 to affecting 4.2 million people.

January is Glaucoma Awareness Month. Take a few minutes learn more about glaucoma and to find out who’s most at risk and how best to prevent blindness caused by glaucoma.