January is Glaucoma Awareness Month
Like many illnesses that occur with aging, the number of people suffering from Glaucoma is expected to grow as the overall population ages. That makes this an important topic for elder care. Today 2.7 million Americans have the condition. This number is expected to grow to 4.2 million people by 2030. According to the World Health Organization, glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness worldwide. Only cataracts cause more blindness.
Glaucoma is a condition which is mainly identified by increased pressure within the eye. Anyone who has ever been to the optometrist has likely experienced the small wand that is placed just on front of your eye to measure this pressure. This is such an easy, painless, and important test because glaucoma can sneak up on you. You can lose nearly 40% of your vision before realizing it is happening. And the single best thing to do for glaucoma is to catch it early. There are treatments that can help protect your remaining vision and prevent your eyesight from worsening.
If you have any of these risk factors, be sure to see your optometrist or ophthalmologist every year for a full elder care eye exam:
- Those over 60 years of age
- African American, Asian, or Hispanic ancestry
- Individuals with family members with Glaucoma
- Regular users of steroids (e.g. as sometimes found in asthma inhalers in high doses)
- People who have had eye injuries (especially blunt force injuries like those often obtain while playing sports)
- Folks who are very nearsighted (myopic)
- People with High blood pressure (hypertension)
Glaucoma typically causes a loss of peripheral vision first. Eventually this loss can make doing everyday tasks more difficult. It can also pose a safety hazard, for example when driving a vehicle. If you need some help with activities of daily living due to glaucoma, Seniors Helping Seniors® can help. Our elder care service matches loving, caring, compassionate senior caregivers who want to help with other seniors that need a little help.
For more helpful information about glaucoma, visit the Glaucoma Research Foundation's website.