There’s certainly nothing humorous about glaucoma, in spite of its cause – the blockage of the eye’s clear fluid, aqueous humor. Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness in the world, impacting over 3 million Americans and resulting in blindness for more than 120,000 of them.
In recognition of National Glaucoma Awareness Month, we at Compassionate Nursing Services want to help raise awareness of the risk factors, signs and symptoms, and what to do if you suspect an older loved one may be at risk.
While the exact cause of glaucoma isn’t fully understood, these factors can increase a person’s glaucoma risk:
- Over 60 years in age (or over age 40 for African Americans)
- Asian or African American ethnicity
- Eye conditions such as thin corneas or chronic eye inflammation
- Previous injury to the eye
- Diabetes, high blood pressure or heart disease
- Use of corticosteroids for a long duration
- Family history of glaucoma
In its most common form – open-angle glaucoma – unfortunately, there are typically no symptoms other than a gradual decrease in vision. Annual vision exams are the best way to monitor vision changes and eye health, and to catch glaucoma in its early stages. The following signs, however, can be indicative of acute-angle (or narrow-angle) closure glaucoma:
- Sudden blurriness or other vision disturbances
- Redness and intense pain in the eye
- Vomiting or nausea
- The appearance of colored rings around lights
These symptoms should be considered an emergency, and medical assistance should be sought immediately.
It’s important for older adults to make annual eye exams a priority. If glaucoma is suspected or diagnosed, there are several options for treatment:
- Prescription medications are available to reduce pressure in the eye, either in pill or drop form.
- Surgery can help drain fluid or remove tissue that’s contributing to the increase in fluid.
Catching and treating glaucoma early is key, and it is possible to reduce further vision loss with ongoing treatment and care.
Compassionate Nursing Services can help seniors maintain maximum eye health in a variety of ways. Our caregiving team can coordinate medical appointments, provide transportation, pick up prescriptions and ensure they’re taken exactly when and how they’re prescribed, and so much more.
Help your senior loved ones thrive with our senior home care services in St. Louis and the surrounding areas. You can reach us any time at 314-432-4312 to learn more or to get started!