Glaucoma is a disease in which the eyeâs optic nerve becomes damaged, typically when fluid builds up behind the front of the eye and subsequently increases pressure, which is what causes damage to the optic nerve. This optic nerve damage can cause a progressive loss of vision. One striking fact is glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness for individuals over sixty years old. However, blindness can be prevented with effective and early treatment.
So what does life look like after receiving a glaucoma diagnosis? Begin reading to learn the details, starting with eye appointments.
Frequency Of Eye Appointments
The average healthy adult can go up to two years without having an optometrist check their eyes. If they suffer from another eye condition, this can shorten to once a year. However, after receiving a glaucoma diagnosis, this can change, particularly in the short term. Once diagnosed, it is important for a patient to have their eye pressure checked frequently, often once a month or even once a week in severe cases. This should continue until the doctor monitoring the patientâs eyes can get the pressure under control. However, patients often need to have multiple visits every year even after their eye pressure is at a safe level when they have glaucoma. Everything helps avoid blindness and vision impairment as much as possible!
Doctors should listen to patient concerns about glaucoma and assuage them, inform patients of treatment options, and be available for calls and checkups. Patients are encouraged to build a good relationship with their eye doctor and not to be afraid to seek a second opinion if they are uncomfortable. This relationship is key to effectively managing glaucoma.
Continue reading to learn about managing medications for glaucoma.
Keeping Track Of Medications
Medication is one of the primary ways individuals manage life with glaucoma, particularly after surgery. There are multiple medications out there to help treat glaucoma and make symptoms more manageable. Sometimes patients will just be on one medication, though they may also have a few to juggle at the same time or find they need to switch medications for effectiveness.
Due to this, it is crucial for patients to be well-organized when it comes to their glaucoma medication. This often means writing information down about each medication, such as side effects, when to take them, and if food is required. Many patients find creating a schedule for their medication and including them alongside other staples in their routines is highly beneficial. Popular times include just after waking up, alongside a meal, or even just before turning in for the night.
Continue reading for more information on managing glaucoma medications, including dealing with side effects.
Extra Medication And Consulting Doctors
We are all human, which means misplacing items is inevitable. Although, on average, individuals are better at keeping track of their medication, having extra on hand can still be quite beneficial, especially for glaucoma patients. If patients accidentally misplace pills or eye drops, even temporarily, an extra supply ensures they do not miss a dose. This is especially important when traveling, since replacing medication or getting another dose on the go is much harder than when patients are at home.
Of course, all medications have potential side effects. Sometimes they are not worrisome and easy to deal with, but in certain cases, they can be severe. Thus, it is vital for glaucoma patients to talk to their doctors about their medication, even before they start taking it. Getting familiar with the potential side effects makes it much easier to course-correct if necessary. Patients should talk to their doctor about any side effects they experience, not just serious ones. Even when there are no side effects, patients should still keep in close contact with their doctor if the medication decreases in its effectiveness, stops working entirely, or if there are significant changes to their daily routine. Doctors can adjust the dosage, change the medication entirely, or find an alternative timing for doses that work for the patient.
Continue reading to learn about the care glaucoma patients need to take with other healthcare providers.
Other Healthcare Providers And Glaucoma
Whenever individuals visit the hospital or a new health care provider, one of the most common questions they will be asked is if they are taking medication, and if so, what it is for. Most doctors will also ask their regular patients this periodically to update their knowledge. Thus, patients should always disclose they have glaucoma and what they are doing or taking to treat it. This knowledge helps other healthcare providers prescribe treatments and other medications that will not interfere with the glaucoma medication. Although interactions may differ, sources often recommend being particularly wary of medications with steroids when taking glaucoma medication.
Continue reading to learn how glaucoma patients can still be safely active while ensuring their eyes are protected.
Protective Eyewear For Sports And Labor
There is no reason why living with glaucoma should prevent anyone from enjoying life and doing what everyone else does. Of course, sometimes patients need to make adjustments to how others do things, such as play sports, to account for their glaucoma. For instance, particularly after surgery, patients should wear protective eyewear when playing contact sports or goggles when swimming. As well, protective eyewear is even more important when it comes to hard labor such as construction, landscaping, or even gardening for someone with glaucoma. This helps keep irritants out of the eyes and avoiding itching, rubbing, or scratching, which can cause serious complications when glaucoma is involved.
Speaking of irritants, continue reading to discover how glaucoma patients can still wear makeup if they choose to do so.
Eye Cosmetics And Glaucoma
The golden rule when it comes to living with glaucoma is to keep eyes clean and irritants away from them. Many individuals may think this means having to stop wearing eye makeup, however, this is not the case. If someone wishes to wear eye makeup and they have glaucoma, there are a few pieces of advice that still follow the golden rule. The first is to switch to hypoallergenic brands, which are free of fragrance and other irritants. The second is to replace makeup frequently and wash makeup brushes more often. Washing eye makeup off thoroughly at the end of every day is even more important for glaucoma patients, so those who do choose to wear eye makeup should make sure they have a powerful eye makeup remover, such as a hypoallergenic one. This helps minimize the opportunities for dirt, dust, and even makeup particles to get into the eye and irritate the patient's glaucoma further.
Of course, eye health isnât the only element of living with glaucoma and managing the condition well. Continue reading to learn how overall health and lifestyle come into play.
Remember Overall Health
Sometimes when an individual is diagnosed with a serious medical condition, all of their attention and effort goes to it. Too many forget about the other aspects of their health. Not only can this result in other medical conditions, but it can also worsen the diagnosis they were giving all their attention to.
When it comes to glaucoma, it is important to remember overall health and ensure lifestyle choices are in line with good health. This means eating a balanced and healthy diet, getting regular exercise, not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, and limiting caffeine consumption. A balanced diet ensures glaucoma patients are getting all the essential vitamins for healthy eyes and their overall health. Exercise helps patients maintain a healthy weight, and limiting caffeine consumption and avoiding smoking minimizes serious complications. In addition to promoting good overall health, all of these have a distinct connection to eye health and making glaucoma easier to manage.
Continue reading to learn about managing vision loss associated with glaucoma.
Vision Loss And Glaucoma
The damage to the optic nerve in glaucoma often means some form of vision loss, even if it can be minimizedÂ due to treatment. However, patients do have a few different options available to them, all of which their doctor can discuss with them. Some examples include colored lenses for glasses and text enlargers for the computer. Regarding lifestyle changes, many glaucoma patients find reducing carpets and maintaining a clean home with the same furniture arrangements is helpful for navigating. In unfamiliar places, a guide or cane can be helpful.
Life can be fulfilling after being diagnosed with glaucoma;Â there just has to be a little bit of extra care involved. Embrace life and sight now!