Home Care in McKinney, TX – January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month
While family caregivers may worry about their elderly loved one’s disabilities or cognitive functions, they should also be concerned about their vision. Eye diseases such as glaucoma become more prevalent as we age. In fact, by 2030, glaucoma will increase by nearly 60 percent in Americans age 40 and older, according to the National Eye Institute.
January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month, which means now is a good time for caregivers to take steps to assess their loved one’s eye health. Glaucoma can often appear without warning and cause serious vision loss if left untreated. Here are some ways caregivers can help, as well as some risk factors to keep in mind.
Ways to Help
Seniors are unlikely to take the initiative to check their vision on their own, so it’s often up to caregivers to bring this up to the loved ones. They should encourage them to visit an optometrist at least annually and be aware of any changes in vision, such as blurriness or the appearance of floaters. If they have a history of eye problems, regular eye exams are especially critical. If they currently take eye medications, he or she should be reminded when these medications need to be taken.
While not every senior will get glaucoma, there are some who face a higher risk due to lifestyle or genetics. The following is a list of risk factors:
• Family history: Those with parents, grandparents or siblings with glaucoma face a higher risk of developing glaucoma at some point in their lives.
• Ethnicity: Caucasians are less likely to develop glaucoma than African-Americans and those of Hispanic or Asian descent. African Americans face an especially high risk and are up to eight times more likely than Caucasians to have glaucoma.
• High eye pressure: Eye pressure is measured in milliliters of mercury (mm Hg). The normal range is 12-22 mm Hg. When a person’s eye pressure falls beyond this range, the risk of glaucoma increases, but it should be noted that not everyone with high pressure develops glaucoma.
• Medical conditions: Those who have suffered an eye injury or suffer from inflammation or retinal detachment are more likely to develop glaucoma. Seniors who suffer from medical conditions that are not eye-related also face an increased risk of having glaucoma. These conditions include hypothyroidism, heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure.