Second only to age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma is major cause of adult blindness in America because it causes damage to the optic nerve, and in its early stages, the symptoms are often not evident. Unfortunately, 5 to 10 million people are at risk of contracting this disease. Here are the best ways to prevent glaucoma.
First Steps to Preventing Glaucoma
At the present time, authorities indicate that regular eye examinations are the best way of preventing significant damage to the optic nerve from glaucoma. Early detection, along with careful, ongoing treatment, will maintain the patient’s vision in most cases. Note also that those at higher risk for the disease include individuals with diabetes, those who are of African descent, and those who have a family history of the condition.
What the Disease Is Like
With primary open-angle glaucoma, which is its most common form, the loss of vision is hidden, gradual, and progressive. As a rule, it first affects the victim’s peripheral vision, and in time, central vision becomes lost as well. Medications prescribed for the disease reduce elevated intraocular pressure (IOP) to slow its progression, and some eye drops also help moisturize the eyes while others reduce their fluid production. If you are already taking a cholesterol-lowering drug, it may also help in reducing your risk of glaucoma.
More Preventative Measures
Your overall health will benefit from a consistent regimen of moderate exercise, and studies indicate that certain activities-such as jogging or brisk walking-will result in lowering an individual’s IOP. In general, yoga exercises can also be beneficial, but inverted positions, including shoulder-stands and headstands, may increase IOP and should be avoided. With this in mind, it is best to consult with your physician before beginning or maintaining any exercise program.
Also, when you are engaged in a home improvement project or some sports activity, wearing protective eyewear is highly recommended because an injury to the eye can lead to secondary glaucoma or traumatic glaucoma and their unfortunate consequences. This may happen immediately, or become evident after several years.
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