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What You Need to Know About Glaucoma Care

Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a frightening word. It can become a serious disease if left untreated, but knowing how to recognize and manage your glaucoma makes it easier to live with. If you suspect you have glaucoma, you should visit your eye doctor immediately for an exam. Once a doctor completes a diagnosis, he or she will guide you what you need to do to manage the disease.

 

What is Glaucoma?

There are several types of glaucoma, from open angle to normal tension. Glaucoma can develop in childhood and it can be congenital. No matter what type you have, however, glaucoma happens when fluid builds in the eye, at the front. The fluid puts increased pressure on your eye, damaging the optic nerve and impacting your vision.

Your eye naturally produces a small amount of liquid called aqueous humor to maintain healthy pressure. When there is too much aqueous humor, though, the nerve fibers inside your eye break down. Headaches and sudden blurry vision may signal you’ve developed glaucoma. You may also see halos or rainbow-colored rings around lights. However, these symptoms don’t necessarily mean you have glaucoma. There is no “correct” eye pressure; only your eye doctor can tell what pressure amount is normal for you.

 

Managing Your Glaucoma

The best way to manage glaucoma is keeping your eyes healthy. Keep your eyes free of irritants. Be vigilant in spring and fall, as these are peak allergy seasons. If you wear contacts, clean them as directed with the proper solution, never with tap water. Be careful when using eye cosmetics; replace your mascara, eyeliner, and eyeshadow often, and use non-allergenic brands. Wear goggles while swimming, playing contact sports, or doing woodwork or yard work.

Eat healthy foods and maintain a healthy weight. Don’t smoke, and don’t overindulge in caffeine. Get regular exercise, but be careful where you do so. For instance, you might wear protective glasses or lenses at the gym if the building has heavy fluorescent lighting. Lower your salt intake and drink plenty of fluids, especially water.

If your eye doctor prescribes glaucoma medication, take it regularly. Set an alarm to remind you when it’s time to take meds, or take them the same time every day, such as when you get up. If you travel frequently or will be away from home for an extended period, carry an extra bottle of medication. Always have your prescription with you in case of an emergency. Keep detailed medication records.

Finally, schedule regular eye exams, especially before large projects or long trips. Ask your eye doctor any questions you have, and always request updates on your condition. Write down questions before an exam so you don’t forget to ask anything.