Hart Optical Co., 8685 La Mesa Blvd., La Mesa, is noting January as “Glaucoma Awareness Month” with an encouragement to local residents to get their eyes examined and tested for glaucoma.
“Glaucoma is often called the `sneak thief of sight’ because people usually do not notice any signs of concern until they have lost a significant part of their vision,” said Michael Emerson, a Registered Ophthalmic Dispenser who has owned Hart Optical Co. since 1987. “However, glaucoma does not need to lead to blindness.”
Emerson said glaucoma is an eye disease that damages the optic nerve and, eventually, a person’s central vision. He said people typically first notice “patches” of vision loss particularly in their peripheral vision or side vision.
“Early detection is critical to stopping the progress of glaucoma, which can be treated and controlled by medicine, laser surgery, glaucoma surgery or a combination of these treatments,” Emerson said. “Medicine, such as eye drops, is generally the first form of treatment, but your eye care physician will suggest what is best for you.”
Emerson, certified by the State Board of Medical Quality Assurance of the California Medical Board, is involved in the local healthcare community as a Grossmont Healthcare District (GHD) board member. He was appointed to the GHD board in May 2008, and was elected in November 2008 and 2012. Prior to joining the GHD board, he served on the Grossmont Hospital Corporate Board beginning in March 2007. He has served as chair of GHD’s Proposition G General Obligation Bond, Finance/Audit and Government Relations committees.
He also has served on the California Special Districts Association Board and the San Diego County Taxpayers Association Healthcare Committee. Emerson also is involved in Live Well San Diego and serves as a charter member of the Health and Human Services Building Better Health Leadership Team.
He has completed Advanced Government Finance training at the University of Wisconsin and the Special District Leadership and Management Certification Program offered by the Special District and Local Government Institute.
Emerson, a 5th Dan Master, also has volunteered as a martial arts instructor at the YMCA Davis facility in La Mesa. He served for two years in the U.S. Army, including at the Optometry Clinic at Irwin Army Hospital in Ft. Riley, Kansas.