Did you know that the risk for developing Glaucoma is much greater for those 60 and older? In light of January being National Glaucoma Awareness Month, let's take a look at the signs, symptoms, prevention tactics and treatments associated with the disease, so you can take better care of your loved one.
Glaucoma is a group of diseases that affect the eye's optic nerve, causing irreversible vision-loss. Specifically, a valve that controls the liquid is responsible for the pressure in our eye malfunctions. This malfunction is what causes damage to the optic nerve. This damage can eventually result in total blindness, however the process is not painful.
Glaucoma shows no symptoms, but is more common in people from particular backgrounds. The disease runs in families and is more common in African- and Mexican-Americans. Glaucoma is also associated with low blood pressure, diabetes, cortisone exposure and nearsightedness. If your loved one has any of the above factors and is 55 or older, it's recommended that they see an optometrist annually for a full vision exam. If there's a family history of glaucoma, anyone 50 and older should receive a full vision exam annually.
While it's not clear what can prevent glaucoma, the best thing you can do is see your eye doctor every year. Experts also suggest eating a diet that incorporates omega-3 fatty acids, which is found in salmon, tuna and anchovies. As far as treatment, there is no absolute cure for the disease, yet options exist that could help control it. Most glaucoma patients use medication to help combat the disease. However, the medication must be taken exactly according to the instructions. Older people with memory loss or a tremor may need assistance with taking their medication every day. Laser eye surgery has also helped glaucoma patients, but most must continue to use medication as well.
If you think your loved one could be at risk for glaucoma, make an appointment with his or her eye doctor today.