You brushed it off aside. You thought to yourself that you were just tired and had to work too much, that’s why you had this blurred vision episode. Then the following week, you experienced extreme pain in your eye. Suddenly, you were also feeling nauseous. You weren’t tired this time. You know it was something else. You were thinking, maybe it’s just your eyewear, and a switch to prescription smart glasses will do the trick. But your ophthalmologist had different news for you: glaucoma!
The doctor said that it might still be on its early onset. You’re in near panic and wondering how your life will change with this diagnosis. What are some of the things you need to change in your lifestyle? Could you go blind?
Some three million people in America share the same concern. Let’s look at what you can do:
Glaucoma in America
It is the no. 1 reason why people go blind. If you do go blind, it is irreversible, i.e., there is no known cure yet for glaucoma. Treatments are meant to slow down the progression of the disease.
Of the estimated three million people in the US who have glaucoma, a mere 50% are aware that they have it. A worrying 9% to 12% of all blindness can be attributed to glaucoma.
No one is safe! Babies, middle-aged, and much older adults 60-years old and beyond may acquire the disease.
Glaucoma is a disease that gradually takes away one’s vision. A healthy eye depends on a properly functioning eye drainage system, which is the balance in the inflow and outflow of aqueous fluid in the eye. A malfunctioning drainage system creates an abnormal and intense inner pressure of the eye—the intraocular pressure or IOP. This abnormality causes damage to the optic nerve, thus leading to blindness.
A recent discovery, however, indicates that eyes with normal IOP may also experience glaucoma.
Get your eyes checked. If you’re 40 or more, visit your doctor at least once every two years so that you can have a thorough scanning. Remember that glaucoma symptoms don’t usually appear unless it’s already highly developed.
Fluid buildup in your eye progresses very slowly, so unless you regularly visit your doctor, the diagnosis that you have glaucoma might come a bit late.
Depending on when you were diagnosed, procedures vary. Here’s the kind of intervention to manage your glaucoma:
- Eyedrops. This is the initial and frontline defense if detected early. The eye drops can help relieve the pressure build-up in the eye. This is done either by de-clogging your eye drainage system or by decreasing fluid-creation in the eye. You need to regularly check with your doctor to determine the proper dosage and schedule of application.
- Surgeries. With current advances in technology, laser therapy and filtering surgeries are done in a breeze by brilliant and highly trained eye doctors. There are a couple more types of operations that can be performed depending on the progression of your glaucoma. You must go for follow-up check-ups after your surgery.
- Exercise. Regular physical activities like jogging, brisk walking, or biking also help lower the pressure in your eye.
Oral medication is also an option. Expect some side effects or at least some level of discomfort. It is best always to see your eye doctor regularly to prevent glaucoma.