Preventing Vision Loss From Glaucoma

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More than 3 million people in the U.S. have glaucoma, according to the Glaucoma Research Foundation. Glaucoma can steal sight without warning. Vision loss generally begins with peripheral vision, and so a person may not notice the change until significant vision loss has occurred.(1)

While glaucoma can affect anyone, there is higher risk for people of African, Asian, and Hispanic descent. Family history of glaucoma is an additional risk factor, as well as diabetes and nearsightedness.(1) Diagnosing the disease in its early stages is key to preventing vision loss, states the American Academy of Ophthalmology. The most common treatment is prescription eye drops. These work by lowering the pressure in the eye to prevent damage to the optic nerve.(2)

The American Academy of Ophthalmology offers these tips for preventing vision loss from glaucoma:

  • Get regular eye exams, which can mean finding the disease in its early stages, when it can be treated. If diagnosed, take medications exactly as the doctor instructs.
  • If you take a steroid medication, be sure to tell your eye doctor. Taking steroids for a long period of time or in high doses can raise eye pressure.
  • Eat plenty of leafy green vegetables and colored fruits and berries every day.
  • Exercise… but carefully. Intense exercise that raises your heart rate can also raise your eye pressure. But brisk walking and regular exercise at a moderate pace can lower eye pressure and improve overall health. If you lift heavy weights, have a qualified trainer show you how to breathe properly during this exercise.
  • Protect your eyes from injury, as eye injuries can lead to glaucoma. Always wear protective eyewear during sports or while working in the home or yard.
  • Avoid head-down positions, which can lead to raised pressure in the eye. This includes inversion tables or gravity boots for back pain.
  • Wear quality polarized sunglasses when outdoors
  • Talk to your eye doctor about your blood pressure medicine. If blood pressure drops too low during sleep, it can worsen glaucoma damage.(3)

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References

(1) Glaucoma Research Foundation, January is Glaucoma Awareness Month, www.glaucoma.org/news/

(2) National Eye Institute, Glaucoma Medications, https://www.nei.nih.gov/learn-about-eye-health/

(3) American Academy of Ophthalmology, 10 Things to Do Today to Prevent Vision Loss form Glaucoma, https://www.aao.org/eye-health/

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