Why Should You Take Care of Glaucoma
Glaucoma is a chronic disease which has no symptoms but can cause loss of vision which is irreversible. Glaucoma is a disease of the optic nerve which connects the eye to the brain, and the damage to the optic nerve, if not treated in time, can even lead to blindness. So in case you have been diagnosed with glaucoma, and you still do not take care of it, you can develop a decrease in peripheral vision over time which is called constriction of visual field. If this damage is not arrested, a permanent loss of vision may be the result.
However, the good news is that in the current era, glaucoma can be treated very effectively and safely with eye drops, laser and even surgery. This is why you should take care of glaucoma.
Who is at risk from Glaucoma?
1. Glaucoma typically is a disease of the elderly, but can affect almost any age group, including new born children. Typically angle closure glaucoma risk increases in the 40s, while that of open angle glaucoma is the 60s
2. People with family history of glaucoma are at a higher risk
3. People with history of trauma or multiple surgeries of the eye are at a higher risk
4. Steroid use increases the risk of glaucoma
5. People with diabetes and other endocrine disease, and also diseases like migraine and Raynaud’s phenomenon also have an increased risk of glaucoma
Why Should You Take Care of Glaucoma?
The damage to vision and visual field due to glaucoma cannot be reversed even by surgery. So, in order to make sure you do not lose vision, you must follow your doctor’s instructions.
Since the disease has no symptoms, most patients ignore it. Also, the loss of vision is often so slow, that the patient does not notice it. Only a comprehensive eye examination can diagnose glaucoma.
Therefore, it is critical to take care of your glaucoma. In fact, you must ask your doctor about your eye pressure and your risk for glaucoma during your eye evaluation. A regular check will ensure that glaucoma can be detected in its early stages and a proper treatment started as early as possible.
How should I take care of my eyes if I have glaucoma?
• Choose your doctor well: Choose an eye specialist who is well versed in taking care of glaucoma, because it can be a complicated disease to diagnose and treat, since it has no symptoms. Also, make sure you choose an eye hospital which has access to the latest machine for diagnosis and management including visual fields, pachymetry, and OCT etcetera. The hospital you choose must have trained staff, and all the latest laser and surgical facilities for glaucoma.
• Follow your doctor’s instructions: Keeping track of glaucoma medications can be challenging, but you must remember the dosage and frequency and use them as prescribed. In case of any side effects, or fresh symptoms, you must discuss them with your doctor and avoid self-medication. You must also be regular with your follow up visits for check-up and investigations. In case your doctor recommends a laser treatment or surgery, you must discuss its risks and benefits in great detail. In case you think you need a second opinion, you must schedule an appointment with another specialist without delay, because glaucoma lasers especially for angle closure should not be delayed unnecessarily.