Glaucoma Is Still Underdiagnosed
Glaucoma affects millions of people worldwide, but most don’t know they’re at risk until their vision starts deteriorating. According to the Baltimore Eye Survey (BES), approximately half of people who suffer from glaucoma go undiagnosed for years before they seek treatment.
One major factor contributing to the lack of early detection of glaucoma is the inability to diagnose glaucomatous changes in the optic disc and retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL). A glaucoma specialist may use both an eye examination and tests such as tonometry and perimetry when diagnosing patients for glaucoma.
However, intraocular pressure (IOP) measurement may be difficult sometimes because of poor visibility because of corneal edema, corneal scarring, or cataract formation. Variations in intraocular pressure measurements may occur among different people, and IOP varies from day to day for each person. Because IOP by itself cannot detect glaucoma, we need additional tests for diagnosis.
How Quickly Does Glaucoma Progress?
In general, the word “glaucomas” refers to a group of diseases that cause damage to the optic nerve and result in vision loss. Primary open angle glaucomas occur when fluid pressure builds up inside eye (intraocular) because of blockage of drainage channels. Untreated, glaucoma may lead to permanent vision loss.
Acute Angle Closure Glaucoma occurs when someone has an abnormally narrow opening between his/her iris (the colored part) and cornea (the clear front portion). When this happens, too much fluid builds up behind the lens of the eye, which causes swelling of cornea and makes it harder for light rays from entering the eye.
Glaucoma may be effectively managed. Eye drops, surgery, or laser surgery can be used for treatment. If detected early enough, most cases of glaucoma can be successfully treated. There may not be any noticeable effects on quality of life. If not treated early enough, glaucoma may cause permanent damage to eyesight.
Can You Prevent Glaucoma?
You may be able to prevent glaucomatous damage by taking certain precautions if you have family history of the disease. You might want to get regular checkups for certain things like eyesight, blood pressure, and body mass index (BMI).
Regularly, having an eye exam is important for maintaining good vision. Glaucoma may be detected by an eye care professional before any symptoms appear.
If you notice any changes in your vision such as double vision, blurred vision, redness, sensitivity to light, pain when looking at bright lights, trouble focusing, loss of color perception, floaters (small dots), flashes of light, dimming of vision, decreased night vision, sudden decrease in visual acuity, or difficulty reading small print, see an ophthalmologist immediately for further evaluation.
Your eye doctor might recommend checking your eyes more frequently if you have certain medical conditions, including diabetes or an increased risk of developing another type of eye disease.
Learning about your family history is essential. Ask your relatives whether they’ve ever had any eye issues.
Follow your doctor’s instructions carefully. They may recommend you take some kind of medication if they discover that you have elevated levels of eye pressure.
Glaucoma prevention involves maintaining a healthy lifestyle that focuses on having enough physical activity, eating well, and following other good health practices. Furthermore, controlling high blood pressure, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases can help prevent vision loss because of these conditions.
How Do You Treat Glaucoma?
Most glaucomas are caused by an excessive accumulation of fluids inside the eyes. Fluid usually remains at a steady level throughout life, but if there’s an increase in volume, it typically flows out of the body through the trabecular meshwork.
Glaucoma is treated with medications that lower pressure or reduce fluid production. If these treatments aren’t effective, surgery can be performed to drain excess fluid from the eye.
Lasers are also used to treat certain types of glaucoma. Laser treatment works well for open-angle glaucoma, which occurs when the drainage angle is not blocked.
Closed angle glaucoma can also be treated with laser therapy. This type of glaucoma is characterized by increased resistance to fluid flow from the eye.
Steps to Slow the Progression of Glaucoma Risk
About three million Americans suffer from glaucoma. Education involves teaching people about the symptoms of glaucoma so they know when to seek medical attention. If no one knows about these symptoms, then there’ll never be an early diagnosis. It gradually loses its sight, which may go undetected for some time. Glaucoma is difficult to detect early on, so it often goes unnoticed for years before symptoms become apparent.
To avoid losing vision because of glaucoma, it’s essential to understand which risks factor you may be at greater risk for developing glaucoma, and then seek regular eye examinations and diagnostic tests. There are things we can do to help protect our eyesight.
Most people don’t notice glaucoma because they’re not aware of their vision loss. However, if you notice changes in your vision, contact an eye doctor right away. You may not notice any changes if you’re experiencing no pain or symptoms from glaucoma. Glaucoma causes vision loss, which cannot be reversed; however, it can be slowed down through treatment.
Early detection helps keep vision loss from becoming too severe. Regular eye exams help detect any changes before they become serious. And treating them quickly helps prevent further damage. Here are some things that you can do to prevent glaucoma from developing.
If you follow your ophthalmologist’s instructions carefully, glaucoma may be controlled well enough for you not to need surgery. In recent years, glaucoma specialists have been making substantial progress. New treatments for glaucoma have been found and they’re now being validated through longer term studies. Glaucoma treatments include both medical and surgical options.
Even though you may not be experiencing any symptoms at present, get yourself checked regularly for eye issues, regardless of whether or not they’re apparent.
If you’re already experiencing symptoms of glaucoma, take eye drops and medication to help keep them under control.
Specific Steps You Can Take to Prevent Vision Loss From Glaucoma
Glaucoma affects vision, but there is no known way to prevent it from occurring. And doctors don’t know how to prevent it completely.
Eye exams are essential to avoid blindness. They can also be useful for detecting eye disease.
1. To recognise the early signs of glaucoma.
If you have glaucoma, you need to get regular eye examinations. You should know that taking your glaucoma medication exactly as prescribed is as important as doing regular eye exams.
2. If you’re taking steroids, talk to your eye doctor.
Taking steroids for a long time or taking them at high doses can cause your eyes to increase in pressure. Always tell your eye doctor if you are taking any kind of steroids.
3. You should ensure that you’re getting good diet and enough vitamins and minerals.
Some studies show that people who eat plenty of leafy greens, berries, and colored fruits and vegetables are less likely to develop eye problems than people who don’t eat those foods. It seems that the protective properties of eating these foods are better than taking vitamin supplements.
4. Moderate exercises such as brisk walking or weightlifting can lower your eye pressure and improve your overall health. However, vigorous exercise such as jogging can raise your eye pressure. If you are lifting weights, make sure that you are breathing correctly.
5. Make sure you protect your eyes from harm, such as by wearing sunglasses when you’re outdoors. Your eyes can become damaged by UV rays from the sun.
Wear safety glasses whenever you’re working on your home or in your yard.
Patients with glaucoma should avoid inversion tables or gravity boots and there are certain yoga positions that are dangerous for patients with glaucoma. Ask your doctor if you can do yoga exercises.
When sleeping, be careful to avoid sleeping with your eyes or on your arms. If you have glaucoma, or if you snore heavily, get tested for Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). If you stop breathing through your mouth, snore heavily, or stop breathing at all, get treated for sleep apnea.
Sunlight can damage your eyes. Some evidence suggests that it can cause certain types of glaucoma.
If you wear sunglasses and a hat when you go out in the sun, you will protect yourself from the harmful rays. Whether you are hiking or sightseeing, you will stay protected.
Tell your ophthalmologist if you have been taking any medication that lowers your blood pressure. If you feel dizzy, then your ophthalmologist can tell your primary care doctor. Your primary care doctor can change your blood pressure medicine on your own if needed.
(Source of above advice: aao.org)
Tips for Living With Glaucoma
Glaucoma is a long-term health problem. Regular checkups with your eye doctor are important to keep it under control. There are other things you can do to keep your eyes healthy. Walking can lower pressure in your eyes. Talk to your doctor about the best exercises to keep your eyes healthy.
Fish contains a lot of healthy omega-3 fatty acids and is good for your heart. Make sure you take your pills exactly as directed and don’t skip any doses. This can cause your glaucoma to get worse.
It’s essential to stay healthy. And smoking is harmful. Nicotine causes problems.
Drinking a lot of soda, coffee, tea, or energy drinks can lead to blurry vision and soreness in your eyes. The pressure in your eyes can rise as high as 90 minutes after drinking such beverages.
If you want to keep your head raised when sleeping, use a wedge pillow. Doing so will help lower your eye pressure.
If you want to avoid damaging your vision, it’s important to sip your fluids slowly over the course of the day. It’s not a good idea to drink more than a quart of fluids at once.
Protect your eyes. Make sure you use proper eye care. Always wear eyeglasses while working in the yard or playing sports. Look for products that won’t irritate your eyes. Keep up with eye products so you can change them often. Try to find eye products that are safe for your eyes. If you have glaucoma, you may want to avoid glaring surfaces like sand, snow, and water. You can also wear sunglasses outside.
Don’t scratch. Glaucoma, and the medicine you take might make your eyes itch. However, you should refrain from scratching your eyes, as you could aggravate the condition and make it worse. Talk to your doctor if you need help control eye dryness.
Make sure you have enough vision so you can drive safely. Discuss with your doctor whether you need a special license to drive.
When practicing yoga, you should be careful. Avoid postures that have your head in a lower position than your body.
A glaucoma diagnosis is scary for many elderly people. So when you meet someone who has glaucoma, try to comfort them by reassuring them they can continue to see well if they take their medicine and care properly.