Ever wondered why Glaucoma is called “ the sneak thief of sight”? The most common form of glaucoma has no warning signs. The effect is so gradual that you may not notice a change in vision until the condition is at an advanced stage.
Glaucoma is a leading cause of irreversible blindness worldwide. It is a group of eye conditions that damage the optic nerve, which is vital to good vision. This damage is often caused by an abnormally high pressure in your eye.
Normally, our bodies adapt to changes in blood pressure, body position, or other changes in order to maintain constant circulation to important areas such as our brain or our eyes. For some individuals, their bodies may lack the ability to adjust the circulation appropriately, so the tissue may not be properly nourished and may suffer damage over time.
Patients that suffer from both diabetes and hypertension are at a 48 percent increased risk of open-angle glaucoma. Patients with diabetes and hypertension are known to be at an elevated risk for eye conditions such as diabetic retinopathy, which harms blood vessels in the retina.
Vision loss due to glaucoma can’t be recovered. So it is important to undergo regular eye exams that include measurements of your eye pressure. If glaucoma is recognized early, vision loss can be slowed or prevented.
Common causes of Glaucoma include:
- High blood pressure
- Certain medications and steroids
- A diet with excess salt, hydrogenated oils, trans fats, red meat, alcohol, and sugar
- Eye trauma
- Heart disease
If you have Diabetes, you are at higher risk of developing certain eye diseases, including diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, and cataracts. The good news is that you can preserve your vision and reduce your chances of eye disease.
Follow these self-care steps now to make sure you preserve your vision in the years to come :
1. Get a comprehensive dilated eye examination from your ophthalmologist at least once a year.
Regular comprehensive eye exams can help detect glaucoma in its early stages before irreversible damage occurs. As a general rule, have comprehensive eye exams every four years beginning at age 40 and every two years from age 65. You may need more frequent screening if you’re at high risk of glaucoma. A dilated eye exam allows your ophthalmologist to examine more thoroughly the retina and optic nerve for signs of damage before you notice any change to your vision.
2. Control your blood sugar.
When your blood sugar is too high, it can affect the shape of your eye’s lens, causing blurry vision, which goes back to normal after your blood sugar stabilizes. High blood sugar can also damage the blood vessels in your eyes. Maintaining good control of your blood sugar helps prevent these problems. If you are facing blurry vision, you need to get your blood sugar back into the target range (70-130 milligrams per deciliter, or mg/dL, before meals, and less than 180 mg/dL 1 to 2 hours after a meal). It may take as long as 3 months for your vision to fully get back to normal.
3. Maintain healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
High blood pressure and high cholesterol can put you at greater risk for eye disease and vision loss. Keeping both under control will not only help your eyes but your overall health.
4. Quit smoking.
If you smoke on a daily basis, the risk for diabetic retinopathy and other diabetes-related eye diseases doubles. Giving up tobacco will certainly help reduce that risk.
5. Exercise is a must.
Exercise is good for your eyes. It’s also good for your diabetes. Regular exercise can help your eyes stay as healthy as possible while helping to control your diabetes. Regular, moderate exercise may help prevent glaucoma by reducing eye pressure. Speak with a nutritionist about a customized exercise program
6. Take prescribed eye drops regularly.
They can significantly reduce the risk that high eye pressure will progress to glaucoma. To be effective, eye drops prescribed by your doctor need to be used regularly even if you have no symptoms.
7. Wear eye protection.
Serious eye injuries can lead to glaucoma. Wear eye protection when using power tools or playing high-speed racket sports on enclosed courts.