January was Glaucoma Awareness Month, a time to educate people on this sight-stealing disease. Glaucoma typically has no symptoms at first, giving the disease ample time to progress and steal your vision. In fact, you can lose as much as 40% of your vision before noticing that something is wrong.
As progressive as glaucoma is, advancements in medicine have made this condition easier to treat. Let’s explore the reasons why it’s important to catch glaucoma early on and why even your family doctor can make the diagnosis.
Identify Your Risk
When you see your doctor regularly, you can stay up to date on the health of your eyes. Even though glaucoma is very common, there is still a strong genetic component to this disease. During a routine exam, your doctor will look at your optic nerve. If they notice a large “cup” or a difference between your two eyes, you’ll have to follow up with a specialist.
Prevent Vision Loss
The most common type of glaucoma is open-angle glaucoma, a slow and progressive disease in which patients don’t know they have it until a substantial amount of vision has been lost. By scheduling an appointment with visiting physician services, you can keep on top of this condition and ensure you don’t suffer vision loss.
Stop the Disease from Progressing
Once glaucoma is diagnosed, it can be treated with medication or surgery. There have been advancements in the treatment of this disease, and many different types of eye drops are available to reduce pressure in the eyes. When medication fails, laser procedures and surgery are available. These can be great options because you no longer have to take eye drops.
Establish a Schedule for Regular Exams
Seeing your eye doctor or family doctor regularly to screen for glaucoma starts you on the path to healthy habits. Doctors can learn a lot from the eyes, such as your risk for high blood pressure, arterial plaque, diabetes, brain tumors and stroke. Plus, routine visits allow them to check for other eye problems like age-related macular degeneration or cataracts.
Live Independently – Even with Glaucoma
Although anyone can get glaucoma, certain people are at a higher risk. By scheduling an appointment with your eye doctor or family doctor, you can learn about your risk. If you or a loved one has already lost vision to glaucoma, a home health care service like VNA Health Group can provide you with the added support you need to be safe and independent around the home.