Glaucoma 101

Glaucoma 101

Although glaucoma is not treatable or curable, several solutions such as eye drops and medication can help control symptoms and slow the progression of the eye disease.

Vision is a crucial body sense because, with it, we get to see and enjoy the wonder of nature. However, as we age, eyesight may deteriorate because of certain factors such as lifestyle disease and accidents. Most eye problems tend to develop later in life, and one of the common ones is glaucoma. Here are some of the common questions of glaucoma.

1. What Causes Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is an eye problem that damages the optic nerve (responsible for transmitting visual information from the eyes to the brain). Ideally, an increase in eye pressure is the primary cause of glaucoma.

In the early stages, glaucoma doesn’t have any symptoms, and by the time you notice any vision loss, the condition will be well advanced. It’s advisable to see eye care near you for regular assessment.

2. We Have a Family History of Glaucoma, Will I Get It Too?

No. But it will increase your risk of getting glaucoma later. Other health and lifestyle factors that can increase your risk include:

  • Diabetes
  • Age. People over 50 years are more predisposed
  • Previous episodes of a serious eye condition
  • Being nearsighted
  • Race. African American adults six times more likely to develop glaucoma
  • High blood pressure
  • Consuming steroid medications

Visit an eye doctor regularly if you have any of these factors.

3. Can Glaucoma Be Prevented?

No, you can’t prevent glaucoma. However, with regular checkups, the doctor can detect the disease and initiate treatment. With early detection, you can slow down the progression of the disease.

The doctor may prescribe medication such as eye drops to control the eye pressure. However, if the condition is not responding to treatment, then surgery may be done.

4. Will Glaucoma Make Me Blind?

While glaucoma isn’t preventable, you can prevent blindness if you follow the doctor’s instructions. The proper glaucoma treatment can significantly slow down the progression and damage on the optic nerve.

It is also important to protect your eyesight by wearing protective gear when playing high-impact sports. Exercise works great, but avoid yoga poses that include head and shoulder stands as they increase the intraocular pressure.

5. Is Glaucoma Treatable?

No. However, there are several treatments that you can use to control the symptoms of glaucoma. The initial treatment includes medications such as pills and eye drops that can either decrease the fluid production or increase the flow.

Using these medications, as advised by the doctor, will reduce the risk of vision loss. Keep in mind, glaucoma medication affects your entire body, and you should talk to all your doctors for assessment of any side effects that may occur.

If medications fail to produce any significant progress, the doctor may recommend other treatments such as:

  • Laser trabeculoplasty is a brief procedure that is done using the laser to improve the outflow of fluid from the eyes and lower the pressure.
  • Glaucoma Implant Surgery is also a surgical procedure that reduces pressure.
  • Trabeculectomy is done to create a new channel of fluid outflow. The procedure has a high success rate and can reduce optic damage progression.

Even with the surgical procedures, you may still need to use the eye drops to regulate the eye pressure.

How Can You Slow the Progression?

Glaucoma can be controlled with proper care, and here are a few tips:

  • Get regular eye checkups. Glaucoma is asymptomatic in the initial stages, and you can only know the progress with regular checkups. The frequency of the eye checkup will depend on the age and eye condition. If you are above 35 years and have a family history of eye diseases, you need checkups annually.
  • Exercise can help lower eye pressure
  • Avoid taking marijuana. Despite the numerous assumptions that marijuana helps with glaucoma, it doesn’t. Marijuana can help lower eye pressure but also blood pressure. Low blood pressure affects blood flow to the optic nerves.

Take Away!

Glaucoma is not treatable or preventable, but it can be controlled with proper care and remedies. At Glendale Eye Medical Group, we help you control glaucoma and maintain proper eyesight for years to come.

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