January is Glaucoma Awareness month, and during these few weeks a more prominent light is shone upon a condition that affects millions of people worldwide. Glaucoma is an eye disease that is mostly found in older adults. It is defined as a group of eye conditions that impact the optic nerve, increasing one’s risk for blindness over time. The optic nerve is responsible for transferring visual information from the eye’s retina to the vision centers of the brain. When the optic nerve becomes damaged, it is more probable that vision loss will occur. With glaucoma, damage to the optic nerve is caused by an increase in intraocular pressure, or fluid pressure inside the eye. In ideal cases, the eye is able to regulate this pressure, keeping it within normal range. When this pressure cannot be regulated, however, harm to the optic nerve can occur, causing irreversible loss of vision. Symptoms of glaucoma may include eye pain or discomfort, headache, nausea/vomiting, blurred vision, seeing halos around lights, blind spots, eye redness and vision loss.
Regular visits to your eye doctor can help decrease your risk of vision loss through early detection of eye disease. Your doctor can assess your field of vision, preform optical imaging, check for changes in your eyeglass prescription, and determine whether or not your intraocular pressure is within normal range. Without these regular visits, glaucoma can go undetected for some time and, unfortunately, once vision is lost to glaucoma it cannot be restored. While there is no cure for glaucoma, there are treatment methods available that work to stabilize intraocular pressure. These options can include eye drops, laser procedures and surgery. You and your eye doctor can discuss which method would be best for your situation.
Here at Aqua Home Care, we take routine doctor visits seriously. As an in-home caregiver referral company, we make it our mission to match individuals with caregivers best suited to meet their personal care needs. This includes finding caregivers who are able to drive their clients to routine checkups and who are trained to care for those living with vision loss. Daily life can be greatly affected by vision loss and often requires a great period of adjustment. While modifications can be made for most tasks, it takes time to develop new habits. Other aspects of everyday life such as driving independently are typically shelved with severe vision loss. Physical and emotional tolls may be experienced with this big life change, and having a trusted support system in place can be highly beneficial.
Preventing vision loss due to glaucoma requires the help of a medical professional. It is important to maintain regular appointments with your eye care provider. If you notice any changes to your vision, please seek immediate care. While there is currently no known cure for glaucoma, this disease can be treated with methods that help regulate intraocular pressure and, ultimately, help prevent optic nerve damage in order to maintain eye health and eyesight.