Glaucoma Awareness Month: Self-care methods to avoid the severity of Glaucoma
Glaucoma can affect anyone, and as people get older, their risk rises. Here is all you need to know from symptoms, treatment options to self-care methods that can help you identify glaucoma at an early stage, and prevent vision loss.
Glaucoma is a set of eye illnesses that cause gradual but progressive damage to the optic nerve (the link between the brain and the eye). This then causes the visual field to gradually get smaller, which could eventually develop into total blindness. The vision loss in glaucoma is irreversible if left untreated since the optic nerve cannot regenerate once destroyed, unlike other frequent causes of vision loss (like cataracts), where total vision may typically be fully restored.
"Glaucoma can affect anyone, and as people get older, their risk rises. The disease is more likely to affect those who have a family history of it, wear high-minus glasses (or previously did but had surgery to remove them), or have had eye injuries in the past. Additional risk factors include things like extremes in blood pressure and prolonged usage of steroid eye drops" says, Dr Sandeep Buttan, Technical Lead at Eye Health and Health System Strengthening at Sightsavers India. (Also read: Glaucoma Awareness month: Ayurvedic remedies to improve eye health )
He further says, "As a rule, glaucoma runs in families. Recognize the family history of eye disease in your family. The risk may necessitate more frequent screening if it is higher. The remainder of the family (brothers, sisters, and kids) should have eye exams to rule out any early disease if a family member has been afflicted with glaucoma before"
Talking about symptoms Dr. Sandeep explained, "There may be no signs or symptoms of eye problems in the early stages of glaucoma. Non-specific symptoms like headaches, watering eyes, or seeing a coloured aura may or may not be present in some persons. Regardless of any eye symptoms, everyone over the age of 40 must undergo an annual glaucoma screening. Treatment options for glaucoma may include eye drops, laser therapy, eye surgery, or a combination of these, depending on the kind and stage of the condition. The condition requires lifelong monitoring and follow-up because it is chronic. All forms of glaucoma treatment primarily work to stop the optic nerve from suffering more harm; they cannot erase the damage already caused."
Dr. Sandeep Buttan suggested self-care methods can help you identify glaucoma at an early stage, which is essential for preventing vision loss or slowing the disease's course.
1. Have a routine, extensive eye exam
Regular, complete eye exams can aid in identifying glaucoma in its early stages before serious damage takes place. As a general rule, if you're under 40, we advise getting a full eye exam every five to ten years; if you're 40 to 54, every two to four years; if you're 55 to 64, every one to three years; and if you're over 65, every one to two years. You will require more frequent screening if you are at risk for glaucoma.
2. Recognize the history of eye disease in your family
As a rule, glaucoma runs in families. If your risk is higher, you might require more regular screening. The remainder of the family (brothers, sisters, and kids) should have eye exams to rule out any early disease if a family member has been diagnosed with glaucoma.
3. Regularly apply the eyedrops as prescribed
The likelihood that elevated eye pressure may develop into glaucoma can be considerably decreased by glaucoma eyedrops. Even if you are symptom-free, you must take the eyedrops your doctor prescribed on a daily basis for them to be effective. Additionally, a thorough commitment to the follow-up programme is required to monitor the disease's development. Always let your eye doctor know if you take any other systemic medications so they can change the timing and dosage to avoid interfering with the effectiveness of your treatment.
4. Avoid using over-the-counter eye drops
Avoid using over-the-counter eye drops for an extended period of time without first consulting an eye doctor. If taken over an extended period of time without the proper supervision, some eye drops (steroids) might raise the eye pressure. Always get the advice of an eye doctor before using any eye medications, and take them only as directed.
5. Always use eye protection.
Glaucoma also develops from eye damage. When utilising power tools or engaging in high-speed racquet sports in enclosed courts, wear eye protection.
Although the only method for diagnosing glaucoma is in the earliest stages before any major visual loss has taken place through routine annual thorough eye exams.