Jan 18, 2018 by Erin Couchell
Glaucoma is a progressive eye disease characterized by increased eye pressure that can cause permanent damage to the optic nerve. Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness in older adults. To keep your senior loved one informed about various risk factors, symptoms, and causes of the condition, as well as different treatment options, home care providers recommend that you carefully read our info sheet.
A high intraocular pressure is the biggest risk factor for developing glaucoma. Other factors may include a family history of the condition, age, thin corneas, previous eye injuries, anemia, steroid use, and nearsightedness.
The most common type of glaucoma is known as open-angle glaucoma. This type usually doesn’t show obvious vision disturbances, except for gradual vision loss, which can mistakenly be contributed to old age. Therefore, it is extremely important that your senior mom or dad visits their ophthalmologist on a yearly basis and monitor any vision changes.
Another type of glaucoma, narrow-angle glaucoma, should be treated as an emergency. In case your parent develops eye redness and a sudden blur of vision or experiences severe pain, nausea, and vomiting, home care providers suggest they visit their doctor at once.
Most often, glaucoma develops when intraocular fluid is not draining fast enough. When fluids gradually build, they elevate pressure in the eyes. With time, irregular ocular pressure prevents the ocular nerve from functioning normally, causing a loss of vision and even permanent blindness.
People with normal eye pressure can develop glaucoma as well. This can happen when an optic nerve becomes fragile or there is poor blood flow to the eye.
There is a number of options for treating glaucoma. Eye drops seem to be the most common type, as they can decrease the stagnation of eye fluids and enhance its outflow. The downside to using eye drops is that they can cause side effects like allergic reactions, eye redness, and stinging sensations.
For this reason, home care providers strongly recommend that your loved one consults with their doctor prior to opting for eye drops. When this type of treatment seems to bear no results, doctors usually prescribe oral medicaments.
If your senior mom or dad is diagnosed with open-angle or angle-closure glaucoma, surgery may be the most effective way of treatment, including cyclophotocoagulation, trabeculoplasty, and iridotomy.
In order to maintain good eye health, your loved one might want to consider adopting lifestyle changes and using certain home remedies. To do so, home care providers suggest switching to a diet abundant in omega 3 fatty acids and dark leafy greens, engaging in senior-friendly exercise regimens, and sleeping with extra pillows to keep the head elevated.
Although glaucoma cannot be prevented, it can be treated successfully when diagnosed early. By recognizing the signs and symptoms of glaucoma and regularly checking with their ophthalmologist, your loved one can reduce the risk of irreversible blindness, maintain good eye health, and enjoy greater independence in their golden years.