Preventing Glaucoma & Avoiding Losing Your Eyesight
According to the CDC, more than half of the people with glaucoma don’t know they have it. About 3 million Americans have glaucoma, the second leading cause of blindness worldwide. Unfortunately, there is no cure for glaucoma, but if caught early, you and your optometrist can preserve your vision and prevent vision loss. So what goes into preventing glaucoma? First, let’s learn exactly what it is.
Glaucoma damages the nerve in the back of your eye, called the optic nerve. The symptoms can start so slowly that you may not notice them. However, some can experience sudden symptoms, like with Angle-closure glaucoma. This includes intense eye pain, red eye, blurry vision, and nausea. This is why it’s imperative to talk to your optometrist, get your regular eye exams, and follow the following tips.
Preventing Glaucoma With These Tips
You can take many steps to lower your vision loss risk and protect your eyes from glaucoma. The most important is making an appointment for your comprehensive eye exam. You may not be in a high-risk group, but regular eye exams can help detect glaucoma and other eye diseases early.
Your optometrist will recommend the timing for follow-up exams. Anyone covered by Medicare is eligible for a free glaucoma test once a year if they are in high-risk groups. According to the National Eye Institute, the identity of these high-risk groups include:
- Anyone over 60 years of age, especially if you’re Hispanic/Latino
- African Americans over the age of 40
- People with a family history of glaucoma
However, please remember that just because you’re not part of a high-risk group doesn’t mean you’re not at risk. Understand your family’s vision health history by talking to family members about their health and any past relatives.
Many other preventative measures can be taken, such as:
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Add leafy greens to your diet.
- Wear sunglasses as you enjoy the outside.
- Control your blood pressure.
- Being physically active.
- Avoid smoking.
These healthy behaviors will also help prevent type 2 diabetes and other chronic conditions. For more glaucoma prevention tips, check out our more in-depth blog.
Treatment for Glaucoma
Vision loss from glaucoma usually affects peripheral vision (what you can see on the side of your head when looking ahead) first. Later, it will affect your central vision and ability to see objects clearly and complete everyday tasks like reading and driving. Treating patients with glaucoma aims to maintain their quality of life and live as normally as possible. Patients with glaucoma have an average life expectancy and, with treatment, can carry out activities as they did before diagnosis.
Glaucoma treatment includes lowering intraocular pressure. Glaucoma treatment includes oral medicine, eye drops, or surgery. Your optometrist may use a combination of treatments to reduce the pressure in your eye or eyes.
Remember that you and your optometrist are a team, so take your medication as prescribed and always tell your eye care specialist about any side effects. Other glaucoma treatments can include laser or surgical procedures to reduce eye pressure immediately. Your optometrist will prescribe the frequency of follow-up visits to continue to monitor eye pressure. In addition, they will likely prescribe eye drops to prevent the progression of glaucoma.
Get Your Eye Exam at Looking Glass Optical
Looking Glass Optical uses the latest technology and advanced techniques to provide comprehensive eye care. So, call us today if you’re due for your eye exam or want to learn more about preventing glaucoma, eye diseases, or eye trauma. Quality eye care is our mission; we accomplish this by taking our time with your eyes.