The Need To Understand Glaucoma

The eyes are not simply just the windows to our soul. In fact, the eyes are one of the foremost senses that we rely on in our day-to-day lives. Many people often take sight and seeing for granted, but for those who have impaired vision, from an accident or age-related issues, understanding the complexities of compromised eyesight is imperative to then being able to properly treat and combat it. Glaucoma is considered the second leading cause of blindness for those over the age of 40. More than 2.5 million Americans suffer from some form of the eye disease. This makes it incredibly pervasive and it’s only climbing higher as time goes on. That number is expected to more than double in 30 years.

Who Can Get Glaucoma?

There is ongoing research that has been done in regards to better understanding this condition and effective ways to prevent it from occurring. A very interesting tidbit of information regarding it is that anyone can actually develop glaucoma. Though there are certain people who may be more genetically predisposed to the condition, it can show up in anyone. Even younger individuals, such as children and babies, may develop the early onset of this condition which can have terrible effects and consequences on eyesight. Familial and genetic makeup does contribute to this specific condition in many ways. It has been found that people over the age of 60, especially those of Mexican-American descent, have a higher probability of suffering from glaucoma.

Comprehensive Eye Exam

The most effective way to catch the presence of glaucoma, in order to treat it quickly, is by getting a comprehensive dilated eye exam. One of the most beneficial methods of treatment and prevention starts when detection is made early. Eyesight can be saved and restored by taking this simple and relatively quick eye exam. The trained eye care professional will use a special tool that examines the very back of the eye. This magnifying lens will show any type of nerve damage or irregularity that may exist in the back of the eye where issues typically occur first.

Preventative Treatment Important

Simply waiting for symptoms is a bad idea. Because of how quickly glaucoma can spread and become unmanageable, preventative treatment is better than reactive treatment. This is how lack of awareness can really be costly in the end. For those who have a history of glaucoma in their family or have dealt with similar eye issues in the past, making it a point to be examined at least yearly is necessary. When glaucoma isn’t properly treated, eyesight begins to diminish. It is the peripheral eyesight that typically diminishes first. Seeing things out of the corner of the eye becomes more difficult. Over a period of time, even central vision can be negatively affected.

Nerve Cell Damage

The optic nerve is the compromised entity in the face of glaucoma. It exists in the very back of the eye and helps to carry specific peripheral visuals to the brain. When that optic nerve is damaged, its range of motion than becomes compromised. When the nerve cells become under attack from the presence of glaucoma, the flow of visual data is disrupted and can often be short circuited. Once this damage is done it cannot be reversed. Specific studies have been researching ways to protect eye cells from this nerve damage.

Eyes Can Be The Window To More Than Just The Soul

People often fear the worst in a given situation, and bad news is not something we like to hear. This is only one of many reasons that as a society, we often put off important medical checkups or appointments. There is also the financial aspect to account for, but it seems that the majority of people don’t notice anything wrong, so they avoid the checkups that could be early indicators of health problems.

Lighthouse International, a major advocate of vision protection and treatment recently published a survey that indicates that millions of Americans risk losing their vision, and fear that loss more than that of any of their other senses. However, very few are doing anything about it. More than ¾ of those at risk for diseases of the eyes do not have annual exams.

There are many risk factors for potential eye disease that most wouldn’t normally associate with the eyes, like high blood pressure for example. It has been linked with glaucoma, which in many cases has no warning signs or symptoms until it’s too late. This can cause irreversible damage, and without proper examinations to look out for the warnings, it may be far too late to treat by the time it’s discovered. There are alternative treatments like eye drops and injections to treat glaucoma, but surgery can often be needed also.

 

A typical eye exam can pick up on a number of warning signs for other diseases besides those associated with the eyes also. Diabetes, multiple sclerosis, autoimmune disorders, and even tumors can be detected by an optometrist.

 

Natural Ways To Save Our Sight

A vision care diet
The most common eye diseases share a common link- oxidation, chemical process in which free radicals damage cells in the body, in this case, the eyes. A natural by-product of metabolism, these oxygen-based molecules are also produced in large amounts by smoking, air pollution, and excessive sunlight. A few of the best antioxidants to help protect your sight are vitamin A, zinc, lutein, and fish oil (which are high in omega 3 fatty acids).

Water and exercise
Drinking a lot of fluids improves the transport of antioxidant nutrients to the eyes, so drink at least 8 glasses of water a day to lubricate them. Regular exercise is also good for eye health, especially in helping to prevent glaucoma. It boosts circulation throughout the entire body and can reduce pressure in the eye as well.

Sunglasses
Most people wear sunglasses for comfort, but there’s a more important reason: the sun’s ultraviolet radiation greatly increases oxidation in eye tissues. Excessive sun exposure is a leading cause of cataracts and macular degeneration. Make sure that your sunglasses block 100% of both UVA and UVB radiation, and styles that wrap around the face are best as they block most of the sunlight that would otherwise hit your eyes.

Relax
Our eyes get virtually no rest other than when we’re sleeping. An easy way to soothe and relax your eyes is to rub your palms together until they’re warm, and place them gently over your closed eyes with the fingers of each hand overlapping and resting in the center of the forehead for a few minutes. Do this at least once a day.