As we age, many of our senses diminish, including hearing, eye sight and smell. When our loved ones begin showing symptoms of any of these problems, we bring them to the doctor to try to slow the process. However, what if there are no symptoms?
Glaucoma is the second-leading cause of blindness worldwide, behind cataracts, and is most common in people over the age of 60. According to the National Eye Institute, it is more common in those of African-American and Hispanic descent.
Risk factors include:
- Family history
- Prolonged use of steroids
- Myopia (nearsightedness)
- Injury to the eye
There are several different types of glaucoma, all of which can cause optic nerve damage. Once this happens, the peripheral vision begins to fade. Eventually, if left untreated, it begins to damage the central vision, leading to complete and permanent blindness.
What are the symptoms of glaucoma? Well, that is a big part of the problem. Some people can experience blurred vision, headaches and red eyes. However, most do not. Often referred to as the “sneak thief of sight”, according to Prevent Blindness America, it does not cause noticeable symptoms until the later stages of the disease. Due to this, most people are not even aware they have it. Once the disease has taken full effect, the damage is irreversible, and there is no cure.
With all of this in mind, you are probably wondering: “How do I protect my loved one?”
The key is prevention!
Make sure your loved one is scheduled to have regular eye exams. With early detection and treatment, vision loss can be minimized or even prevented.
If your loved one has already been diagnosed with glaucoma, be sure they are taking their medication exactly how it is prescribed. Those who suffer from memory loss have increased risk of missing doses of medication, which would be detrimental. Be sure a family member or a trained caregiver assists them in taking their medication EVERY DAY.
If your loved one is currently suffering from vision loss, a Home Instead CAREgiver could assist them with chores around the home, meal preparation, medication reminders and errands.
For more information on Glaucoma, please visit the Glaucoma Research Foundation. We hope this was helpful. If you have any questions or if you know of a senior that could benefit from our vast array of home care services in Houston, please call us at 832 379-4700 or email us. We accept most long term care insurance as payment and have a full time staff supervising more than 100 quality-trained home care personnel covering the Houston, Texas area.
- National Glaucoma Awareness Month (lvnfamilyeyecarecenter.wordpress.com)
- Sight Unseen: Glaucoma Can Take Sight without Warning (familyeyehealthandcontactlenscenter.wordpress.com)
- Get a glaucoma test (healthsass.blogspot.com)