January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month. Did you know that glaucoma is a leading cause of vision loss and blindness in the United States? Glaucoma is a group of eye conditions or diseases that damage the optic nerve, according to the Mayo Clinic. Glaucoma usually occurs when the fluid pressure inside the eyes slowly rises, therefore damaging the optic nerve, according to MedlinePlus. “This internal fluid normally drains out through a tissue called the trabecular meshwork at the angle where the iris and cornea meet,” according to Mayo Clinic. “When fluid is overproduced or the drainage system doesn't work properly, the fluid can't flow out at its normal rate and eye pressure increases.”
As the optic nerve gradually deteriorates, blind spots develop in the visual field. Unfortunately, many people are unaware that glaucoma does not have symptoms in its early stages. Without treatment, people with glaucoma will slowly lose their peripheral, or side vision.
“Because vision loss due to glaucoma can't be recovered, it's important to have regular eye exams that include measurements of your eye pressure so a diagnosis can be made in its early stages and treated appropriately,” according to the Mayo Clinic. “If glaucoma is recognized early, vision loss can be slowed or prevented. If you have the condition, you'll generally need treatment for the rest of your life.”
Types of glaucoma include open-angle glaucoma, angle-closure glaucoma, normal-tension glaucoma, and pigmentary glaucoma. Open-angle glaucoma is the most common form of the disease. The signs and symptoms of glaucoma vary depending on the type and stage of the condition. For example, open-angle glaucoma symptoms include patchy blind spots in your side (peripheral) or central vision, frequently in both eyes; tunnel vision in the advanced stages; and acute angle-closure glaucoma symptoms include severe headache, eye pain, nausea and vomiting, blurred vision, halos around lights, and eye redness. Risk factors for glaucoma include:
- Having high internal eye pressure (intraocular pressure).
- Being over age 60.
- Being black, Asian, or Hispanic.
- Having a family history of glaucoma.
- Having certain medical conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and sickle cell anemia.
- Having corneas that are thin in the center.
- Being extremely nearsighted or farsighted.
- Having had an eye injury, or having certain types of eye surgery.
- Taking corticosteroid medications, especially eye drops, over a long period of time.
Are you or your senior parent at risk for developing glaucoma or vision loss? There are many ways to help protect your eye health and lower your risk of glaucoma. However, the best way to manage eye health is to schedule and attend annual visits with an optometrist who will conduct a comprehensive dilated eye exam.
If your senior parent is at risk and struggles with scheduling and driving to appointments, call SYNERGY HomeCare Corona, Riverside, and Anaheim Hills. SYNERGY HomeCare’s in-home caregivers can not only help your senior parent schedule and attend doctor’s appointments but can also help your aging parent manage and treat glaucoma by 1) reminding them to take their prescribed eye drops regularly, 2) managing their medications, and 3) reminding them to wear eye protection when exposed to the sun.
About SYNERGY HomeCare of Corona/ Riverside
Synergy HomeCare of Corona/ Riverside is the name you can trust in Corona, Norco, Riverside, Chino, Chino Hills, Diamond Bar for personal home care. Synergy HomeCare of Corona/ Riverside is part of a national franchise of non-medical home care offices dedicated to providing exceptional and affordable service to anyone of any age. Synergy HomeCare caregivers are available 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, to those in need - including seniors, expectant moms, those suffering from sports injuries and debilitating illnesses, and more. Synergy HomeCare of Corona & Riverside can be found online at http://www.synergyhomecare.com/agencies/ca/corona/ca18/. The location also hosts active social media pages on Facebook and Twitter. Ken and Anna can be reached at 951-280-9808 and [email protected]