Frequently Asked Questions about the Condition of Glaucoma
If you are over the age of 65 years, you have a high risk of developing various eye diseases or problems. Among different types of eye diseases that can affect you, Glaucoma is the most common and is a leading cause of permanent vision loss in the United States. The condition of Glaucoma affects the optic nerve of your eye which plays an important role for good vision by sending visual information to the brain from your eyes. The optic nerve damages due to the increased pressure inside the eye. You can slow down or prevent the vision loss by getting early diagnosis and a proper treatment of Glaucoma, through regular eye exams.
In today’s article, we have compiled a list of most commonly asked questions about the condition of Glaucoma that can increase your knowledge and awareness about the condition.
Question: Is there a way I can prevent Glaucoma?
Answer: There may be no way to prevent Glaucoma but you can slow down its progress and limit the vision loss by taking some self-care steps. At first, you need to get regular eye exams and checkups. The ophthalmologist performs various tests such as dilated eye exams, eye pressure measurements or visual field testing to check changes in your eye. If the condition is diagnosed at an early stage with the help of these eye exams then it can be treated before irreversible vision loss occurs. The symptoms of Glaucoma develop slowly and you didn’t notice any pain or visible change unless it reaches to its advanced stage where it can cause vision loss. Remember, that vision loss is irreversible so the best protection is to get regular eye screening. Generally, eye exams every four years are recommended to people at beginning of 40 years and every two years over 65 years. If you are at high risk of developing Glaucoma (having family history of the disease) then you need to have frequent eye exams as scheduled by the eye doctor.
Regular exercise can prevent the condition by reducing the eye pressure, so the doctor can help you in determining appropriate exercise plan for you. Different injuries to the eye can also lead to Glaucoma so make sure wearing protection glasses whenever using power tools or playing outdoor sports.
Question: If my parent has Glaucoma, will I affect the condition?
Answer: It is not necessary that you develop the condition but you are at increased risk of developing it. There are some other factors that can increase the risk of developing Glaucoma and these include: being over age 60, have high pressure inside the eye, being Hispanic or black, family history of the condition, being nearsighted, having history of serious eye injury, having diabetes and high blood pressure and taking steroid medications.
It is recommended that people with these risk factors should get regular eye screening and exams to look for the disease.
Question: Will I go blind if I have Glaucoma?
Answer: You will not go blind if you take your prescribed medications correctly and have a regular check-up and follow-up visits to your ophthalmologist. The treatment of Glaucoma can slow down the damage caused to the optic nerve. So, make sure to take your prescribed eye drops and other medications strictly on schedule as it helps in preventing permanent vision loss.
Question: Can I still drive if I have Glaucoma?
Answer: The ability to drive depends on how much your vision has lost. It is recommended to discuss your conditions and concerns with your eye doctor who helps you to determine whether you can drive or not.
Question: Can I still wear contact lenses if I have Glaucoma?
Answer: Whether you need to wear contact lenses or not, it depends on the treatment option which the ophthalmologist chooses for you. You may need to wear contacts while using eye drops while some medications should be taken without wearing contact lenses. Also, if you need surgery for treating Glaucoma then the scenario for wearing contacts will be different. So, you must discuss all your concerns regarding wearing contact lenses with your ophthalmologist.
Question: Are there effective treatments available for Glaucoma?
Answer: Yes, there are different treatment options available that can effectively treat the underlying cause of the condition. Usually, the ophthalmologist starts treatment with eye drops that help to reduce the production of eye fluid and improve the drainage system through which fluid flows out from the body. You can preserve your vision by correctly taking these eye drops as scheduled by the doctor. If the symptoms didn’t reduce with eye drops then the ophthalmologist prescribes oral medications. The eye drops and medications prescribed for treating Glaucoma can affect the entire body, so if you are visiting another doctor for any other medical condition then make sure to tell him/her that you are taking these drops and medications.
In some people, the eye pressure didn’t reduce to the desired level with eye drops and medications and so surgical treatment of Glaucoma is needed in these cases. One type of surgery performed is called as Laser Trabeculoplasty, in which laser energy is used to improve the flow of fluid out of the eye and lower the pressure. Another traditional surgical method is Trabeculectomy, in which the ophthalmologist creates a drainage path in the eye under the eyelid.
Question: What should I do to help my parent affected with Glaucoma?
Answer: Many elderly are dealing with various eye problems as they age. Most of the parents think that they become a burden to their family if they lose their vision. At first, reassure your parent that with proper treatment and care, they can preserve their vision.
The most important step that you can take is to ensure that your parent is taking prescribed eye drops on the set scheduled by the doctor because it is significant in preventing blindness. It becomes difficult for parents to remember the timings of taking eye drops so you or other family members can take steps to give the drops by yourselves or make a plan accordingly. If your parent has to undergo a surgery then do whatever you can to make him/her prepare for the surgery and take responsibility right from arranging transportation to post-treatment follow-up visits. Remember, the best way to help your parent in this situation is to give him/her full emotional support.
Although Glaucoma can cause permanent vision loss, we can slow the progress of the disease and prevent vision loss with early detection and workable treatment plan. The board-certified ophthalmologists at Menger Eye Centers are highly recommended to provide complete eye exams for timely diagnosis and best treatment plan for Glaucoma in Glendale, NYC which results in preserving the vision. You can visit our website and fill out the contact form or call us for an immediate response 718.386.1818.