Share this article on social media!
Glaucoma in the Elderly
January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month, a significant time to spread the word about this vision-stealing disease!
Unfortunately, untreated glaucoma in the elderly can cause a plethora of problems, vision loss being the number one. After the age of 60, you are much more likely to develop glaucoma, making it the leading cause of blindness for seniors.
The Glaucoma Research Foundation says that over 3 million Americans have glaucoma and projects the number will reach beyond 4 million by 2030. Only about half of those 3 million know they have it mainly due to the fact that little to no symptoms occur. Vision loss also does not appear right away however, over time, there will be a gradual loss of peripheral vision, causing your eyes to appear as if they were looking though a telescope.
Fortunately, this disease can be prevented with early diagnosis and prevention treatment. To prevent eye damage, an eye exam should be completed preferably one to every two years as it is the most effective way to be diagnosed, according to the National Eye Institute. Beginning care early on can slow the loss of further damage or vision. Also, make sure to eat healthy, stay active and above all protect your eyes. It’s important to note that wearing sunglasses and protective eyewear will drastically protect your vision for harmful UVA and UVB radiation caused by the sun.
Treatments include surgery and medication, but this will only preserve the vision that is left, not repair already occurred damage. Eye drops are the most common medication for glaucoma in the elderly and must be taken regularly to work, though many forget to take it because they do not show or feel symptoms. This is one reason assisted living communities can be a great option, as they ensure all medications are properly taken every day and never forgotten. It’s so easy to forget a pill, especially if you feel perfectly fine! But in the long run, things will worsen.
Laser trabeculoplasty is another treatment in office that is a little more invasive as it is a form of surgery which helps to drain fluid more efficiently in the eye. Usually, only one eye is treated at a time. A more aggressive surgery is the last step that will need to be taken if the other two steps are not showing improvements.
Raising awareness to those that may not know to get their eyes checked is extremely imperative. Detection and prevention are the only ways to truly stop or slow the process of glaucoma. As Senior Advisors with North Star Senior Advisors, we highly recommend setting up eye appointments for yourself or your senior loved ones in the near future. It only takes a few moments out of your day to check but will significantly save you in the years to come.
For more information on glaucoma, visit the National Eye Institute.
North Star Senior advisors helps families and their loved ones locate senior living options throughout Central Florida at no cost. Call a senior advisor today at 407-796-1582 or visit www.northstarsa.com for senior resources and more information available to you.