Anyone can get glaucoma, from babies to senior citizens, and, in many cases, symptoms don’t accompany the onset of the eye disease. In fact, it’s estimated nearly 3 million Americans have the most common type of glaucoma but only half know they have it. At our offices throughout the Kentuckiana area, including several near Louisville, we offer glaucoma treatment to patients of all ages.
Glaucoma can result when the intraocular pressure (IOP) builds up due to excess fluid and damages the optic nerve. Effects of this disease include vision loss or blindness.
While glaucoma isn’t completely preventable, you can minimize the chances that you’ll develop the disease by lowering certain risks. These risk-reduction strategies range from maintaining a regular exercise program to quitting smoking. Here are 8 ways to lower your glaucoma risks:
- Get regular, comprehensive eye exams: As mentioned above, you won’t necessarily experience symptoms of glaucoma. That’s why scheduling routine eye exams is so important. Our eye doctors can check the quality of your vision and note changes.
- Eat “vision” foods – those that contain vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin D, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids: Recent research suggests that certain nutrients can help delay or prevent eye problems, including glaucoma. It’s best to make these foods part of your diet, but vitamin supplements can also help.
- Exercise: Create an exercise program that you can commit to and stick with. That might just mean taking a daily, brisk walk.
- Eye protection: Primary open-angle glaucoma is the most common form of the disease, but eye injuries can result in traumatic glaucoma. Protecting your eyes during sporting activities or home improvement projects can help avoid getting an eye injury.
- Keep blood pressure at a normal level: It’s important to monitor your blood pressure because chronic hypertension has been linked to an increased risk of developing glaucoma (or making it worse.)
- Maintain a healthy weight: Studies show that obesity is linked to intraocular pressure, which is the primary characteristic of glaucoma.
- Limit caffeine intake to moderate levels: Some evidence suggests that high amounts of caffeine may increase eye pressure.
- Avoid smoking: Smoking is linked to several health issues, and glaucoma is no different. If you smoke, quit. If you don’t smoke, don’t start.
Some people are at an increased risk of developing glaucoma, including those who have a close family member diagnosed with the disease or who are over 60-years-old, diabetic, severely nearsighted, or African-American. People in these higher-risk group should be especially careful to follow these tips.
If you’re interested in scheduling an eye exam with an ophthalmologist in Louisville, KY, or one of our other locations, call (888) EYE-CARE (393-2273). You can go to our Locations page to find the office closest to you.