Q: Is there anything that I can do to prevent glaucoma as I get older?
A: Glaucoma is actually the second-leading cause of blindness in the entire world. Glaucoma is often referred to as a “silent thief of sight” because it is estimated that the disease affects over 4 million Americans, yet only about half realize that they have it. Glaucoma, however, can be treated effectively if it is caught early on. This is why prevention is crucial!
Glaucoma is a disease that affects and puts pressure upon the optic nerve. Optic nerve damage results in loss of vision, and ultimately blindness. The increase of pressure or intraocular pressure can damage the optic nerve, which transmits images to the brain. If damage to the optic nerve from high eye pressure continues, glaucoma will cause permanent loss of vision.
Without treatment, glaucoma can cause total permanent blindness within a few years. Most of the time, glaucoma can be detected during a routine eye exam. The absolute best way to prevent the disease is through early detection and treatment. That is why it is so important to have regular eye exams with your ophthalmologist so that if glaucoma is detected, it can be controlled as early as possible. Treatment options can range from eye drops to surgery, with a goal of controlling the intraocular pressure.
Other ways to help prevent glaucoma and improve your vision include exercising and eye protection. Regular exercise will not only benefit your overall health, but it can also have a lowering effect on intra-ocular pressure. Moderate exercise such as walking or jogging three times a week or more is recommended. Another simple way to prevent glaucoma is to protect your eyes from injury. Be sure to wear protective eye glasses when completing home improvement projects or various sports.
If you have a family history of glaucoma, please contact the glaucoma specialists at OCLI today. We will schedule a dilated eye exam and measure the pressure in your eyes to determine if you have glaucoma. Early diagnosis of glaucoma allows the condition to be controlled, and your eye health won’t interfere with your everyday life.