Monday, March 10, 2014

What You Need to Know About Glaucoma and Your Senior

You may have heard the term “glaucoma” thrown around at your optometrist’s office, but if you’re caring for an elderly loved one it’s important to know the details about this devastating disease. Glaucoma is technically a cluster of diseases that wreak havoc on the eye’s optic nerve. In many cases, glaucoma leads to vision loss or even total blindness. 

Unfortunately, glaucoma appears to be hereditary, and is particularly prevalent among elderly individuals. The condition is still relatively mysterious, though there are several factors that are known to contribute to risk of the disease. Such factors include: 
  • Family history
  • Nearsightedness
  • Previous eye injury
  • Low blood pressure
  • Diabetes
Many people are surprised to find out that there are actually a few different varieties of glaucoma. In order to protect senior health, home care professionals recommend gaining a basic understanding about these varieties. They include:

Isopen-angle glaucoma

This is the most common type of glaucoma, and it results in a slow yet often painless loss of peripheral vision. Because most people don’t pay close attention to their peripheral vision, it is often hard to spot this kind until it’s too late. 

Withopen-angle glaucoma

This variation of the disease slowly narrows a person’s field of vision. Over time, an elderly individual may feel as if they are looking through a tunnel or a paper towel tube. 

Low-tension or normal tension glaucoma

These strains are harder to detect because intraocular pressure levels typically are not alarming. Instead, the disease impacts blood flow to the optic nerve. 

Fromangle-closure glaucoma

This happens when intraocular pressure is too high and the iris blocks drainage to certain parts of the eye. This can quickly result in vision loss, and is often quite painful. 

There are also other types of glaucoma, but these strains of the disease are very rare. If you’re caring for an elderly loved one, it’s important to understand glaucoma. Ensure that your loved one gets a regular eye exam in order to help detect the disease early on and to stop vision loss from happening. 

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