Just because it’s caused by a blockage of aqueous humor (a clear fluid in the eye) doesn’t mean there’s anything humorous about glaucoma. In fact, as the world’s second leading cause of blindness, glaucoma impacts upwards of 3 million Americans and is the cause for blindness in over 120,000 of them.
In honor of National Glaucoma Awareness Month, the professional senior care team at Live Free Home Health Care is hoping to raise awareness about glaucoma’s risk factors, symptoms, and how you can help older loved ones who might be at risk.
Although the specific cause of glaucoma is not yet fully known, these risk factors can put someone at a greater risk of developing it:
- Age 60 or over (or, age 40 and over for African Americans)
- African American or Asian ethnicity
- Problems with the eyes, including thin corneas or chronic eye inflammation
- Previous trauma to the eye
- Heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes
- Extended use of corticosteroids
- A family history of glaucoma
Open-angle glaucoma, the most common form of glaucoma, does not typically involve any symptoms other than gradual loss of vision. Annual check-ups with the eye doctor are the most effective way to stay on top of vision changes and eye health, and to discover glaucoma early. These indications, however, can be warning signs of acute-angle (or narrow-angle) closure glaucoma:
- Sudden vision disturbances or blurriness
- Extreme pain and redness in the eye
- Nausea or vomiting
- Seeing colored rings surrounding lights
The appearance of these symptoms is considered an emergency, and medical help should be obtained immediately.
Making (and keeping) annual eye examinations is crucial for older adults. If the doctor does diagnose glaucoma in a senior loved one, there are a couple of different treatment options he or she can consider:
- Medications may be prescribed to reduce the pressure in the eye, most often as an eye drop, but sometimes as a pill as well.
- A surgical procedure can either drain fluid or remove tissue to decrease pressure.
The key is to diagnose and then treat glaucoma early, as it may be possible to slow down or even stop further vision loss with proper care.
Live Free Home Health Care, the leader in home care in Plymouth, can help seniors keep their eyes healthy in a number of ways. Our professional New Hampshire senior caregivers can arrange doctors’ appointments, transport and accompany seniors to appointments, pick up medications and make sure they’re taken exactly as prescribed, and much more.
Help your senior loved ones enhance quality of life and overall well-being with our senior care services. You can take the first step by giving us a call at 603-217-0149 or filling out our simple online contact form.