Glaucoma: A Brief Summary
Glaucoma refers to a group of diseases that damage the optic nerve and cause irreversiblevision loss. There are many types of glaucoma but the most common type is known as open-angle (chronic) glaucoma which appears to be hereditary and normally starts affecting people in their middle age.
Even though glaucoma still has no permanent cure, further damage by the disease can be prevented by treating it with medication and in some cases, surgery.
Note – A specific type of glaucoma known as narrow-angle (acute) glaucoma is considered a medical emergency and must be treated as soon as possible to prevent loss of vision. In contrast to open-angle (chronic) glaucoma which takes time to damage the optic nerve, narrow-angle glaucoma has clear, painful symptoms and can cause rapid loss of vision.
Glaucoma Diagnosis: How to Deal With It?
A glaucoma diagnosis can be scary as it is one of the leading causes of blindness and most people have very little knowledge about the disease. However, paying proper attention to the preventive measures can ensure the damage done by the disease is controlled and its impact on quality of life is limited.
If the disease is diagnosed early, glaucoma patients don’t have to suffer significant vision loss. Most glaucoma patients never go blind and the only thing that changes in their day-to-day life is more frequent visits to their doctor and a strict approach to daily medication. Eye drops are often used in the treatment process and it is very important for the patient to stick to the
medication routine daily, as it is meant to be used life-long as a preventive measure and not as a short course of treatment.
A lot of research is being conducted to understand how glaucoma functions and damages the eye. A few studies even suggest that some types of glaucoma might actually be an inflammatory disease. It is likely that better treatment and cures will show up in the future for glaucoma due to strong on-going research.
Living a Full Life With Glaucoma
Even though new medicines are being developed and other treatment options may soon be available, a glaucoma patient should ensure they’re doing everything possible to fight the disease successfully. By working with the doctor and tackling the disease with a doctor/patient team approach, glaucoma can be successfully contained and the patient can expect to live a full life despite the disease.
Here are some tips for glaucoma patients to cope with the disease:
- Seek a support group – it is vital that the glaucoma patient doesn’t feel like they’re alone in dealing with the disease. Friends and family can be a great source of support for the patient. Other people suffering from the disease can also prove to be helpful for the patient by sharing their experiences and strategies.
- Exercise regularly – aside from having overall health benefits, exercising regularly can help in keeping our eyes healthy too. However, any patient suffering from glaucoma must check with their doctor before starting any new exercise routine as some forms of exercise are known to increase eye pressure.
- Follow a healthy diet – eating a balanced and well-rounded diet is essential to keeping our eyes healthy and fresh. Studies suggest eating food high in antioxidants and nutrient-rich foods like green, leafy vegetables, and fish help prevent further damage by glaucoma.
- Don’t forget the medication – Since glaucoma cannot be cured, medication is used to ensure that the damage is contained. Because open-angle (chronic) glaucoma often has no symptoms like pain, patients often forget to take their medication which leads to loss of vision gradually. Therefore, it is extremely important for glaucoma patients to take their medication on time to ensure their glaucoma is contained.
Glaucoma Treatment: You’re Not Alone
Even though glaucoma can seem overwhelming and scary, patients should be hopeful about the treatment strategies and know that a glaucoma diagnosis is not the end of the world and it is possible to live a full life while coping with the disease.