You’re Diagnosed with Glaucoma – Now What?
A diagnosis of glaucoma can be devastating to hear. This horrid disease can cause a certain amount of vision loss or even blindness. There are many kinds of treatments to choose from, including medications and surgery, so it’s imperative that you talk to your physician as well as do your own research about which procedure(s) is right for you.
Even though there is no cure as yet for glaucoma, there are treatments available, including eyedrops and surgery. These treatments are designed to lower pressure in the eyes so that the optic nerve will receive less damage. Surgery for glaucoma can be in the form of laser treatment or cutting surgery, and they’re both very effective and safe.
You should see your doctor immediately if you develop signs of glaucoma such as headaches after reading or when entering dark areas – especially if you see ‘halos’ or experience blurry vision. Other signs of glaucoma include poor color awareness, poor night vision and if sections of what you’re looking at don’t appear, such as an entire word when reading.
There is no one measure that lets a glaucoma specialist diagnose glaucoma. Instead, she will likely look at a number of things such as visual field, the condition of the optic nerve, symptoms you’re experiencing, intraocular pressure and decreased vision to see on either side and inability to perceive motion.
There are some things that you can personally change in your lifestyle to reduce the risk of eye pressure. Regular exercise (about 3 days per week) has been shown to reduce pressure. Although diet plays a small part in controlling glaucoma, you should avoid caffeine which may elevate eye pressure and drinking large amounts of any liquid within a short amount of time also increases pressure. Wear sunglasses with high UV filtering lenses.
If you’re diagnosed with glaucoma and are using eyedrops for lowering the pressure in your eyes, be sure and use it as prescribed. Most serious problems that develop with glaucoma are because patients fail to use the medication properly. One reason for this may be that some people – especially the elderly — have trouble getting the drop in the eye because of shaking or stiffness in the joints caused by arthritis or other joint diseases. Also, senior citizens may have problems in paying for the glaucoma medication.
If cost of medication is an issue, talk to your health care provider about lower cost medication. Beta blockers can be purchases for about $5.00 per month and is effective in lowering eye pressure when you are diagnosed with glaucoma. Also, get in touch with the Glaucoma Research Foundation or the National Eye Institute. Both organizations can provide useful information about glaucoma.
Patients who have glaucoma and suffer from any of the problems that make it difficult to take medication should discuss these issues with their doctors. These obstacles can be overcome and the patient needs to understand how important treatment for glaucoma is and know the ramifications for lack of treatment.