Jan 30, 2018 by Mark Holte
January is Glaucoma Awareness Month in Pittsburgh, PA. It’s also the time of the year when seniors who haven’t had their eyes checked recently should get in to see an ophthalmologist and get their vision checked. Seniors have the highest risk for developing glaucoma, so they need to be diligent about getting checked. Private home care providers can help seniors make an appointment with an ophthalmologist or get to their appointment if they need it.
There are a number of different ways a doctor may treat glaucoma. The most common glaucoma treatment is eye drops. Eye drops work by reducing the formation of eye fluid or increasing its outflow. Redness, allergies, irritation, and stinging are all side effects of glaucoma eye drops your senior loved one should inform a doctor of any other medications they are allergic to. Their local doctor may prescribe an oral medication if eye drops do not help.
Laser surgery may also be an option for glaucoma and increase the flow of eye fluid for older adults with open-angle glaucoma. For seniors with angle-closure glaucoma, laser surgery may be effective in stopping fluid blockage. Cyclophotocoagulation, trabeculoplasty, and iridotomy are all examples of laser surgeries that may be performed to treat glaucoma.
While there are various types of glaucoma, the most common one is open-angle glaucoma. Because it does not show any signs or symptoms except for gradual loss, it’s imperative that older adults visit the ophthalmologist yearly so that any vision changes can be monitored.
There is another type of glaucoma called narrow-angle glaucoma, which is considered a medical emergency. If a senior experiences symptoms such as severe eye pain, eye redness, nausea, vomiting, sudden blurred vision, or seeing halos around lights, they should visit their doctor immediately.
High pressure within the eye is the greatest risk factor for glaucoma. However, other risk factors include old age, thin corneas, steroid use, previous eye injuries, a family history of glaucoma, a history of shock or anemia, and nearsightedness.
Most of the time, glaucoma occurs when the fluid inside of the eye does not drain properly. When the fluid builds up, the pressure inside of the eye does as well. This pressure hinders the optic nerve and can lead to vision loss and blindness in time. Glaucoma can also arise in an individual with normal eye pressure if there is poor blood flow to the nerve or the optic nerve is fragile.
Several lifestyle and home care remedies can improve glaucoma and eye health as well. Private home care services can make a huge difference in keeping seniors healthy at home. A healthy diet full of dark, leafy green vegetables and omega-3 fatty acids, frequent exercise, and sleeping with an elevated head are all recommended.
While glaucoma cannot be prevented, it can be controlled if it is diagnosed and treated early. Older adults who make yearly visits to the ophthalmologist a priority can reduce their risk of blindness and enjoy healthy eyes and a higher quality of life throughout their golden years.
If you have a senior loved one in Pittsburgh, PA who is struggling with vision loss and could benefit from professional help maintaining a healthy lifestyle, contact us to learn more about private home care. Our senior care advisors will be happy to answer any of the questions you may have.