Did you wake up with red, painful eyes and see halos around lights? These are signs of glaucoma. It is a common eye condition affecting the quality of life of many. Today, more than three million Americans are living with this vision problem. Avoid developing glaucoma by having more knowledge of its causes and symptoms.
What is glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a group of eye issues damaging the optic nerve. When not treated, it becomes worse over time. Eye pressure is the most common cause linked to this vision problem. However, it is also hereditary and more often develops later in life. When the optic damage becomes worse, glaucoma can cause permanent vision loss. It might also cause total blindness after a few years.
During the early stages of glaucoma, some people might not experience any pain or symptoms. Healthcare professionals recommend having regular checkups to diagnose any developing condition such as glaucoma.
The symptoms of glaucoma
Open-angle glaucoma doesn’t show obvious symptoms until its late stages. For this reason, this type of glaucoma is called the silent thief of vision. The shared sign of all types of glaucoma is vision loss. Below are among the signs you should watch out for:
- Eye redness
- The appearance of halos around lights
- Vomiting or upset stomach
- Vision loss
- Pain in or around the eyes
- Hazy looking eyes, especially in infants
Treatment options for glaucoma
Immediate treatment is the best way to treat glaucoma. Laser treatment for glaucoma can help reduce or stop visual loss altogether as there is no cure for this vision problem at the moment.
Surgeries for glaucoma also focus on reducing eye pressure instead of curing it. In terms of medications, you can find eye drops that help reduce eye pressure by decreasing fluid production or increasing fluid drainage.
Tips to prevent glaucoma
Follow these self-care tips, which will allow you to diagnose glaucoma in its early stages. Doing so will help you address the issue immediately and prevent or reduce vision loss.
1. Take dilated eye tests regularly
Taking comprehensive eye tests consistently can help detect vision problems in their early stages. It prevents further damage from occurring, such as total blindness. Eye tests should be taken — every five to ten years for individuals below 40 years old, every two to three years for 40 to 54 years old, every one to three years for ages 55 to 64, and one to two years for those more than 65 years old.
2. Wear eye protection
Protect your eyes against injuries and damage by wearing suitable eyewear. Use protective eyewear when working in hazardous environments and playing particular sports. It’s also best to wear sunglasses outdoors to protect your eyes against UV rays.
3. Eat a balanced diet and exercise regularly
Moderate exercise and eating a healthy, balanced meal can help reduce the risk of developing glaucoma. It also helps improve overall health and prevent other lifestyle-related health conditions.
Overall, living a healthy life is one way to avoid glaucoma. However, once you develop this vision problem, you can only slow down or reduce its symptoms using the treatments available today.