January is the month in which the medical field sets its sights on glaucoma awareness. It is crucial that healthcare professionals make it known to patients that glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness. The first is cataracts. The difference between cataracts and glaucoma, though, is that a person can have cataracts removed and sight restored. When glaucoma affects vision, there is no going back. This is the first bit of bad news.
The second bit of bad news about glaucoma is how it works. This particular eye disease is commonly referred to as “silent” because the person whose eyes are in danger typically does not know until pressure on the optic nerve has caused irreparable damage and eyesight is noticeably lower. Now, the bit of good news is that vision loss typically doesn’t happen quickly with glaucoma. Usually, people notice that they cannot see to the side like they used to. Sometimes, when we’re really lucky, we catch signs of glaucoma when we observe the eye in a comprehensive eye exam.
If you have a higher risk for glaucoma, such as a family history of the condition, it is very important that you stay up to date with your eye exams and that you obtain care from an ophthalmologist who uses the best possible technologies to screen for this disease. In our Winchester office, we use the Gold Standard in Perimetry to observe the intricate details of the eye, including the optic nerve.
Extending Awareness to Glaucoma Management
In addition to knowing the dangers of glaucoma and identifying personal risk, there are additional concepts one should know. If your risk for glaucoma is higher or you have been diagnosed with this disease, experts suggest that you:
Feed your eyes. Studies have confirmed that what we eat really does count, even to eye health. For those with glaucoma, it is the antioxidants in leafy greens that make a significant impact on risks, lowering them by up to 30 percent.
Work your body for healthier eyes. In a study conducted by UCLA researchers, the value of exercise to glaucoma patients was deemed significant. Scientists suggested that people who lead an active lifestyle are as much as 73 percent less susceptible to glaucoma than people with a sedentary lifestyle.
Avoid marijuana. Some have said that marijuana is what they use to control the ocular pressure caused by glaucoma. However, this can be a tricky tactic. In some patients, the decrease in ocular pressure brought on by marijuana is followed by a subsequent elevation in pressure and increased risk of damage to the optic nerve.
We can help you understand your glaucoma risks and ways to manage this condition appropriately. Call 540.722.6200 to schedule your comprehensive eye exam.
Posted in: Glaucoma