January’s Glaucoma Awareness Month is an ideal time to ask your dad when he last had his eyes checked. A yearly eye exam is essential for the early detection of common eye diseases like cataracts, macular degeneration, and glaucoma. Here are six facts you need to know about glaucoma.
Glaucoma Is the Second-Leading Cause of Vision Loss
About three million Americans have glaucoma. Being 60 or older increases the risk, and that’s why older adults need to see an eye doctor for yearly exams. Left untreated, glaucoma raises the amount of fluid in the eye, which puts pressure on the optic nerve. The cells in the optic nerve die and create permanent vision loss.
Close to a Dozen Types of Glaucoma Exist
There are at least ten types of glaucoma, but there may be even more out there. Two are commonly diagnosed and recognized in older adults. Open-angle and angle-closure.
Open-angle glaucoma accounts for nine out of ten cases of glaucoma. It occurs when the eye’s drainage canals clog up. Angle-closure glaucoma occurs when the area between the iris and cornea shrinks and blocks fluid from draining.
There Are No Noticeable Symptoms
Glaucoma doesn’t have noticeable symptoms, especially in the early stages. The most common symptoms are easy to ignore or mistake for things like allergies, a head cold, or changing vision as you age. They include headaches, blurry vision, and nausea. Your dad may experience those and not think about it being abnormal.
Glaucoma Cannot Be Cured
There is no cure for glaucoma. Once you’ve been diagnosed, you’ll have it for life. You can manage the conditions and have them monitored to make sure your eye pressure is stabilized through treatment options, but it isn’t curable.
Caught Early Treatments Are Possible
When a doctor diagnoses glaucoma in the early stages, eye drop medications can help treat the disease. Sometimes, laser surgery can remove the clog. If those methods don’t help lower the pressure on the optic nerve, incisional surgery may be required. Sometimes, surgeries need to be repeated.
People With Vision Loss From Glaucoma Shouldn’t Drive
In the early stages of vision loss, it’s the peripheral vision that tends to go first. If your dad has glaucoma and says his vision is fine, he needs to have his peripheral vision tested by his eye doctor. He should not drive if his peripheral vision isn’t perfect.
Crashes caused by drivers with poor peripheral vision are a problem. Your dad needs to hand over his keys and let someone else handle the driving. Home care aides help out by driving him around.
Your dad’s caregiver can take him shopping, bring him to appointments, and drive him to social events at senior centers or community centers. Call a home care specialist to learn more about transportation services.
If you or an aging loved one are considering Home Care in Northbrook, IL, contact the caring staff at Companion Services of America today at (847) 943-3786. Our home care service area includes Northbrook, Highland Park, Deerfield, Glenview, Buffalo Grove, Evanston, Des Plaines, Skokie, Lake Forest, Wilmette and the surrounding areas.