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Know the Risk Factors for Glaucoma — National Glaucoma Awareness Month

Glaucoma affects over three million people in The United States, effectively stealing their sight within months. It’s the second leading cause of blindness in the country and, unfortunately, there are almost no symptoms before the disease takes hold. This can leave individuals with permanent disability or blindness even without a known history of vision problems. Knowing the risk factors for glaucoma can save a loved one’s sight.

However, as scary as glaucoma is, it can be prevented and treated after diagnosis. In fact, there are a number of things you can do to help your aging loved one retain their sight for as long as possible. These include:

  1. Knowing the risk factors for glaucoma

  2. Scheduling regular eye exams

  3. Engaging in regular exercise

Risk Factors for Glaucoma

There are several risk factors that may increase an individual’s chances of being diagnosed with glaucoma. These include:

  1. Ethnic background (those of African or Asian descent are at significantly higher risk)

  2. A family history of glaucoma

  3. A Diabetes diagnosis

  4. Prior eye injury

While none of these are “The Smoking Gun,” studies have shown that individuals within these at-risk populations are much more likely to develop glaucoma than others. Therefore, increased eye health monitoring is not only recommended, it is essential.

The Importance of Eye Exams

Regular eye exams are the best way to prevent glaucoma as opthamologists can spot microscopic increases in eye pressure–one of the most telling risk factors for glaucoma. Once these changes are spotted, doctors can offer preventative measures that may decrease the likelihood of developing full-blown glaucoma symptoms. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed, there are lifestyle changes and prescription medications that can slow the progression of the disease.

Exercise Your Eyes?

Exercise is not only great for weight loss, maintaining muscle mass, and heart health, it’s good for your eyes as well. Studies have shown that regular moderate exercise (at least three or more times per week) can maintain or decrease intraocular pressure (pressure inside the eyeball). Not to mention that is also decreases blood pressure, reduces the risk of diabetes, and decreases the risk of falling as well—all of which can lead to risk factors for glaucoma.

Glaucoma Prevention is Essential

There is currently no cure for glaucoma, however, the disease can be treated and its progression can be slowed. The most common type of therapy is a course of prescription medication (usually eye drops) that help to relieve the intraocular pressure that damages the optic nerve.

As our loved ones age it often falls to family caregivers to become health advocates. Speak with your loved ones about the risk factors for glaucoma and show them that there are things they can do to help reduce their risk of developing this debilitating disease. Speak with an eye care professional for more information or visit The Mayo Clinic’s Glaucoma page to get started.

Second Family Home Care employs caring, trustworthy individuals to provide non-medical in-home care throughout Plano and Dallas, Texas, as well as the surrounding areas. Contact us today or call (972) 347-0700 to see how we can help you and your loved one live as independently as possible for as long as possible.

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