Did you know that 3 million people in the United States have Glaucoma and half of those people don’t even know they have it?
Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness in the United States. The risk of being diagnosed with glaucoma increases if you, have a family history of the disease or are over 65.
There are several types of glaucoma, but they all have one thing in common; damaging the optical nerve in the back of the eye. Normally, fluid called aqueous humor flows out of the eye through a mesh-like channel. If this channel becomes blocked, fluids build up and cause pressure. The high pressure can “push” against the optic nerve and damage it. The peripheral vision is affected first, followed by a reduction in central vision and if not treated in early stages, blindness can occur. This disease gradually destroys your vision so you will hardly notice it is even occurring.
Because glaucoma sneaks up on its victims with no early symptoms or pain, visiting an eye doctor every one or two years is essential for your eye health. Although glaucoma cannot be prevented, blindness from glaucoma can be through early detection and appropriate treatment.
Eye drops, laser therapy and surgery are the conventional treatments and are required if peripheral vision continues to worsen. There are also other ways to aid in the management of this sight stealing disease:
- Reduce alcohol and caffeine intake
- Maintain a healthy diet rich in carotenoids (especially lutein and zeaxanthin), antioxidants (such vitamins C and E), vitamins A and D, zinc and omega-3 fatty acids which all contribute to better vision.
- Exercise 30 to 40 minutes daily
- Lower your insulin levels
- Quit smoking
- Take deep breaths, which will affect your blood pressure and heart rate positively.
- Loosen your tie! A tie that is on too tight compresses the jugular veins, raising interocular pressure and can eventually increase the risk for glaucoma in men.
- Be aware of the medicine you are taking! Prescription drugs for bladder control, seizures, or even certain over-the-counter cold remedies, can increase glaucoma risk.
- Protect your eyes from the sun and during sport activities.