Glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness worldwide. It is the second leading cause of blindness in the United States and the first among Americans of African descent. In fact, experts estimate that by 2020, 80 million people have been diagnosed with glaucoma. Although it is quite common, the glaucoma diagnosis still comes as a shock to most patients. This is understandable, as patients immediately conclude that they may lose vision in their lifetime. However, the good news is that glaucoma is treatable if caught early enough.
Catching the disease early and starting glaucoma treatment right away is essential for preserving your vision. Here are five ways you can manage glaucoma:
If you aren’t used to regularly taking medication it can sometimes be hard to remember. Try to make a routine out of taking your glaucoma medications; for instance, always take them after lunch or before bed.
And make sure you keep a list of your medications on hand and share your list with any of your other healthcare professionals. For instance, let your primary care doctor know about any medications your eye doctor prescribed you. That way they won’t prescribe any medications that could interfere with your glaucoma medications.
There are several different types of glaucoma so make sure you understand what type you have. Find a glaucoma specialist you trust and do your own research on the disease so you understand what your glaucoma treatment options are. Several new tools have recently emerged from ophthalmology research laboratories to become part of the state-of-the-art tests and treatment that top glaucoma specialists provide.
Glaucoma will not improve on its own, and, in fact, it can often slowly progress. If you ignore it hoping it will go away, you risk permanent blindness. Communicate any concerns you have to your doctor and make sure you understand your glaucoma treatment plan. And it is important to always take your medications and follow through on doctors’ appointments.
Don’t be afraid to let your friends and family know what is going on. They can provide emotional support and may even offer to help drive you to appointments.
Of course, you want to preserve your eyesight and manage your glaucoma, but it is still important to take care of your overall health. Make sure to get regular exercise and maintain a healthy diet. And of course, continue seeing your ophthalmologist for regular checkups.
If you are concerned that you may be experiencing glaucoma, don’t wait! Glaucoma is treatable, but an early diagnosis is key. It is extremely important to treat and manage glaucoma to avoid irreversible vision loss. If you would like to see our glaucoma specialists and learn how to manage glaucoma, request an appointment with Washington Eye Physicians.
Glaucoma runs in families and has a strong genetic component to its occurrence. If you have recently been diagnosed, do your family a great service by recommending they see an ophthalmologist for a full eye exam.
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The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider.