As we recognize National Glaucoma Awareness Month this January, our team of experts at ReFocus is taking the time to highlight what it really means to live with glaucoma. From necessary lifestyle shifts to practical tips in everyday life, our ophthalmologists are here to help all those with glaucoma live their best lives.
Glaucoma Diagnosis – What to Do?
We understand that it can be daunting and intimidating to receive a diagnosis of glaucoma. Life for those with this disease does not need to be limited though. Instead, with important lifestyle adjustments, patients with glaucoma can lead very active and fulfilling lives.
First and foremost, a diagnosis of glaucoma may require increased visits with an eye care team. To prevent permanent loss of sight as much as possible, experts recommend proper examination and assessment of eyesight by a qualified eye doctor. During the initial examination, an eye doctor will conduct a comprehensive eye exam with dilation. This process can help catch glaucoma early so treatment can begin immediately.
Lifestyle Shifts with Glaucoma
With over 60 million people worldwide diagnosed with glaucoma, there are specific lifestyle adjustments that can be implemented to slow or prevent the progression of the disease.
- Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle – Focusing on a healthy lifestyle can improve eye health as well as general, overall health. Physical activity and exercise – as recommended by an eye doctor – can aid in management of symptoms and slowing the progression of glaucoma. Additionally, a healthy diet and avoidance of unhealthy behaviors, including smoking and tobacco use, can positively promote eye health
- Learn About Glaucoma – Knowledge is power! Taking the time to learn about the condition can actually make the management process easier. Seeking knowledge from trusted sources like an expert eye care team and organizations such as the American Academy of Ophthalmology empowers patients to take ownership over their treatment plan. Remember that healthcare providers want to offer support and answer questions, so coming to them after learning more about glaucoma is a great way to stay educated
- Find a Support Network – Individuals diagnosed with glaucoma are not alone! With millions of people dealing with glaucoma, there is a vast network available to offer support and encouragement. By reaching out to family, friends and trusted sources for guidance and help, those with glaucoma can more easily navigate the diagnosis and treatment process
Practical Tips – Glaucoma in Everyday Life
Beyond lifestyle adjustments, there are also simple tips to keep in mind when living with glaucoma. These include:
- Keeping the home free from extra floor coverings, like area rugs. These can pose a hazard for people with low vision, including those with glaucoma
- Marking treads and handrails with contrasting colored paint or tape to improve navigation and reduce the risk of falling
- Closing cabinets, drawers, and doors, especially those above countertops. Individuals who cannot see as well can bump into these fixtures, posing a risk for head injury
While there is no cure for glaucoma, there are effective treatments and manageable steps that can be taken to slow or prevent the progression of the disease. Our experts at ReFocus Eye Health are here for every step of the process, and we are ready to support those with glaucoma as they navigate the disease in their everyday lives.