There are many different diseases that can affect our eyes with one of the most well-known of these diseases being glaucoma. Glaucoma affects an estimated 3 million people living within the United States as well as many more others worldwide.
Glaucoma occurs when the amount of pressure within your eye builds to such an extent that it damages the optic nerve. This is the main pathway through which messages travel from your eyes to your brain, telling you what you can see. If the condition is not detected and treated promptly, patients with glaucoma are at risk of losing their sight entirely. Fortunately, there are things that can be done to prevent the progression of glaucoma and help you retain your vision for as long as possible.
If you are currently registered with an eye doctor, you will most likely be reminded to schedule regular comprehensive eye exams. Unfortunately, many people consider annual eye exams low priority and don’t make time for them in their busy schedule, especially if they don’t think there is anything wrong with their vision. The problem with this is that in the case of glaucoma, it tends to develop very slowly and may therefore already be affecting your eyes before any noticeable symptoms develop.
Fortunately, most regular comprehensive eye exams include a non-invasive pressure test that checks for glaucoma. The result will then be recorded and used for comparison at subsequent appointments. If the pressure is increasing, steps can be taken immediately to get it under control. In addition to checking the pressure inside your eyes, your eye doctor will also dilate your pupils in order to view the optic nerve and ensure that there are no abnormalities that would suggest a problem like glaucoma.
Attending your regular comprehensive eye exams is the single most important thing you can do to prevent the progression of glaucoma.
If you are found to be in the early stages of glaucoma, your eye doctor will most likely recommend eye drops for you to use that will lower the amount of pressure within your eyes. These are extremely effective and for many people, will be the only treatment needed to prevent glaucoma. However, it is important to note that this treatment, as with all glaucoma treatments, can only preserve your current vision and prevent any further damage from occurring.
It may be a cliché, but living a healthy and active lifestyle can minimize your risk of developing many health problems, including eye diseases like glaucoma. Be sure to eat a healthy diet that incorporates a variety of foods that are known to be good for your eyes such as leafy greens, take regular exercise, and don’t drink caffeine or alcohol in excess. Drink plenty of water and sleep with your head slightly elevated to reduce any pressure in your eyes.
For more advice on preventing the progression of glaucoma, please contact our expert eye care team by calling our offices today.