Glaucoma is among the leading causes of blindness. Damage is caused by abnormally high pressure inside the eye. This abnormally high pressure in the high damages the optic nerve, which is vital for good vision. The key to understanding glaucoma is having regular comprehensive eye exams because often, there are no warning signs. If glaucoma is recognized early, vision loss can be slowed or prevented.
It’s important to understand that glaucoma is not just one disease, it’s a group of eye diseases that damage the optic nerve and symptoms vary by type.
As the most common type of glaucoma, it often doesn’t offer any symptoms until you lose a significant amount of vision. It starts in your peripheral vision and slowly and gradually gets worse over time so you may not notice the changes.
This type of glaucoma is a medical emergency. Many have described it as the ‘worst eye pain ever felt’ and strike quickly.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, see an ophthalmologist immediately. Damage to the optic nerve can begin immediately and if not treated within 6-12 hours, irreparable damage can occur.
Symptoms depend on what causes the pressure in your eyes to rise. Bright lights may bother your eyes (light sensitivity or photophobia) or inflammation may cause you to see halos.
If you are experiencing symptoms like this, your ophthalmologist will most likely check to see if you have glaucoma too.
With early diagnosis and proper medication and treatment, glaucoma can be controlled. However, any sight loss resulting from glaucoma cannot be restored and requires ongoing, long-term care. As of right now, there is no cure for glaucoma.
Ongoing treatment of glaucoma includes keeping your eye pressure under control. This also includes regular checkups even after medications and surgeries have controlled the eye pressure.
Foods to support eye health
To always have a good understanding of your glaucoma, maintaining a routine is ideal. Taking your medications as a part of your routine will ensure you maintain eye pressure. Additionally, taking extra medication with you on trips or in case you misplace your originals also ensures you won’t stray away from maintaining your eye pressure.
With medications, comes side effects so be sure to understand the side effects with your medications and how they work with your body. Let your doctor know if your medications are not working for you or if your routine has changed. Your doctor will be able to solve such problems by changing the type or timing of your medications.
Being diagnosed with glaucoma has emotional and psychological aspects to it too. You may experience worry, fear, helplessness, or depression. Take the time to learn about the disease and you’ll find that there are many steps to managing glaucoma.
Even if you lose your vision, you can utilize vision rehabilitation counselors to learn how to continue leading an active lifestyle. Additionally, you have the opportunity to teach your friends and family about the disease. Many people are unaware of the importance of eye checkups and do not know that glaucoma patients often have no symptoms.
It’s important to know that you can continue with what you were doing before you were diagnosed with glaucoma. You can make new plans and start new ventures all while taking good care of yourself and your eyes.
When is the last time you had a comprehensive eye exam? Schedule one with Dr. Walman today!