Board of Doctors

Prevention of Glaucoma

35 days ago / by Siddu G / 6 mins read

When you take care of yourself, it goes a long way in ensuring a healthy you for your tomorrow. As you grow older, you have to think about your eye health too. Going for a regular eye checkup is advisable after you turn forty. Sometimes, eye diseases come without warning and it may be too late before you realize you are losing vision. Glaucoma is a leading cause of irreversible blindness worldwide. It has been estimated that in India alone at least 12 million people are affected and nearly 1.2 million people are blind from the disease. 

What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a disease that slowly damages the optic nerve, the important link between the eye and the brain. This damage is caused by an abnormally high pressure in your eye. People with glaucoma usually lose vision before they notice any problems with their eyes.  The effect is so gradual, it sneaks up on you! You may not notice a change until the condition is at an advanced stage.

Tips to prevent Glaucoma

Unfortunately, you cannot get back any vision you lose from glaucoma. However, there are ways to detect the onset of glaucoma, prevent serious vision loss or slow its progress.

  1. Regular eye checkup: It is advised to get regular comprehensive eye exams once every few years from an experienced ophthalmologist. As recommended by doctors, you must have eye examinations in the following frequency based on your age –

               Younger than age 40 – every 5 to 10 years

                Age 40-54: every 2 to 4 years

                Age 55-64 years: every 1 to 3 years

                Age 65 and older: every 1 to 2years

               If doctors see any risk of glaucoma in you, they will suggest regular screening and monitoring.

  1. Do not ignore your family’s eye history: if your parents or grandparents have/had glaucoma, chances are, you may too, as glaucoma tends to run in the family. If you run that risk, make sure you go for frequent screening.
  2. Diet goes a long way: you have to eat well to see well. Your eyes need good nutrition too! Rich coloured fruits, berries, vegetables and leafy greens contain vitamins and minerals that protect your body and your eyes. vitamins C, E, and A and minerals such as zinc, copper and selenium are beneficial for the eyes. Carrots are specially recommended. 
  3. Move that body but with caution: Moderate exercise and walking is advised to improve your overall health. It also helps lower your eye pressure. Avoid intense exercises that increase your heart rate as it may also result in a raised eye pressure. Hire a trained instructor to understand breathing while exercising. Right posture and breathing helps in maintaining your posture during exercise.
  4. Shield that eye from injury: eye injuries can cause glaucoma. Make sure you wear protective eye wear while playing sports or while doing any work that is a risk to the eye such as welding, any carpentry work etc.
  5. Clamp on that steroid medicine: steroid medicines, if consumed for a long period of time or in high doses can raise your eye pressure, especially if you have glaucoma. Consult with your ophthalmologist if you are on steroids.
  6. Avoid head-down positions: placing your head below your heart for long periods of time is not advisable if you have glaucoma or are at high risk of the disease. You may need to avoid certain yoga positions such as inversion postures. Head-down positions can greatly raise your eye pressure. Consult your doctor before starting any exercise that includes inversions.
  7. Sleep in the right position: while sleeping with your eye against the pillow or on your arm may be the most comfortable position for you, avoid this if you have glaucoma. If you snore heavily or stop breathing sometimes during the night because of sleep apnea, you are at a high risk for glaucoma. Consult your doctor and get tested for obstructive sleep apnea.  Never ignore the warning signs.
  8. Too much sunlight is not good: not only is excess sunlight not good for your skin, now evidence suggests sun’s UV rays can also be responsible for a type of glaucoma. Wear good quality polarized glasses and a large brimmed hat when out in the sun.
  9. Fresh and clean breath: gum disease can be bad for your heart and now some research connects optic nerve damage in glaucoma to gum disease. Brush and floss your teeth every day and pay that visit to your dentist from time to time.
  10. Keep your doctor informed about your blood pressure medicines: just as high pressure is not good for glaucoma; sudden low pressure can worsen glaucoma damage too. Inform your ophthalmologist if you take blood pressure medicines in the night or if you have low blood pressure symptoms. Do not change your medicines on your own. Consult with your primary care doctor for the same.
  11. Hydrate with love: drink fluids throughout the day but in moderate amounts. Gulping too much water suddenly may temporarily increase eye pressure.
  12. Cut that coffee: avoid drinking too much caffeine as studies have shown that it may result in sudden increase in eye pressure. 

Glaucoma is often a manageable disease. If you follow the advice of your ophthalmologist and primary care doctor, you will be able to manage your glaucoma and not let it affect your normal lifestyle.  Contact Specialist Ophthalmologists at the Board of Doctors for any queries on glaucoma or if you want to get your eyes tested. Our experienced team of doctors will ensure the right diagnosis and measures, all you need to do is click on www.boardofdoctors.com for a hassle free appointment.   Dr. Anil Wani, Dr. Anand Shroff, Dr. Sudha Manjunatha, Dr. Nitin Shetty

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Opthalmology