Jan 25, 2018 by Kelly Lindell
Glaucoma is a group of eye disorders that cause high intraocular pressure and creates permanent damage to the eye’s optic nerve as a result. It is the leading cause of blindness in the senior population. To support National Glaucoma Awareness Month this January, homecare experts would like to share important glaucoma-related information with your and your senior loved one.
Oftentimes, high eye pressure is the main reason behind glaucoma onset. Aging, previous steroid use, a history of glaucoma in the family, head traumas or eye injuries, having thin corneas (outer layer of the eye), nearsightedness, and anemia are additional risk factors your senior mom or dad should be aware of.
Glaucoma develops when intraocular fluids cannot drain at an adequate pace, resulting in elevated eye pressure that slowly damages the eye’s optic nerve. Without treatment, the consequences are a loss of vision and permanent blindness. Homecare providers would like to point out that people with fragile optic nerve or poor blood flow can also develop glaucoma even though their eye pressure may be optimal.
Although there are various types of glaucoma, the majority of people are affected by open-angle glaucoma. Apart from gradual vision loss, the symptoms are almost nonexistent. That is why it is so important that your senior mom or dad visits their ophthalmologist for regular screenings.
Another type of glaucoma, narrow-angle glaucoma is considered an emergency as its symptoms are sudden and painful. The typical symptoms of narrow-angle glaucoma include sudden, severe eye pain, blurred vision or seeing halos around lights, nausea, vomiting, and eye redness.
In most cases, doctors prescribe eye drops as effective means to treat glaucoma. The use of eye drops can significantly improve glaucoma symptoms, but it may also cause side effects when used excessively. Allergies, stinging in the eye, eye redness, and irritation are some of the side effects seniors can experience. Before starting with eye drop therapy, homecare providers suggest that your senior loved one consults with their physician. A doctor may also prescribe oral medication when eye drops don’t show any results.
If your senior mom or dad is diagnosed with an advanced stage of open-angle glaucoma or angle-closure glaucoma, then laser surgery may be their best chance for successful treatment. Recommended surgical procedures include cyclophotocoagulation, trabeculoplasty, and iridotomy.
Making certain lifestyle changes can also contribute to reducing the symptoms of glaucoma. Homecare providers recommend adopting a well-balanced diet rich in oily fish and dark leafy greens, engaging in a low-impact exercise regimen, and keeping the head elevated while sleeping.
By making yearly visits to the ophthalmologist and adhering to these guidelines, your senior loved one can minimize the risk of permanent blindness and maintain their good eyesight for longer.