How to Prevent Glaucoma Complications

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How to Prevent Glaucoma Complications

Glaucoma affects more than 3 million people in the U.S., though many of those people don’t know they have it. It’s also the world’s second leading cause of blindness. Glaucoma often doesn’t have warning symptoms, which is why regular eye exams are essential. 

At Focus Refined Eye Care in The Heights and Montrose sections of Houston, Texas, Dr. Bimal Patel conducts glaucoma checks during eye exams and offers treatment options if you have this common eye disease.  

What is glaucoma 

In short, glaucoma is optic nerve damage. Your optic nerve links your brain with your eyes, and when pressure develops on this nerve, it can cause vision loss. Such pressure is known as elevated intraocular pressure (IOP).

There are four types of glaucoma: 

  • Open-angle glaucoma
  • Closed-angle glaucoma
  • Normal-tension glaucoma 
  • Congenital glaucoma (which affects babies)

Except for normal-tension glaucoma, glaucoma starts with fluid build-up near the optic nerve, and over time, it puts pressure on the nerve. While scientists have long been unclear as to the cause of glaucoma, recent research points to the possibility of bacterial exposure.

Glaucoma can be a slow invader, and you can lose your eyesight if glaucoma isn’t treated or well-managed. 

Ways to protect yourself 

There’s no way to reverse glaucoma once you have it, though it is possible to catch it early and manage it once you have it. Follow these habits to protect yourself and prevent glaucoma complications.

Regular eye exams

Optometrists look for glaucoma symptoms during your regular eye exams. At Focus Refined Eye Care, Dr. Patel examines your medical records and conducts several tests, including what’s known as an optical coherence tomography (OCT). This test checks the health of your optic nerve.

Besides getting regular eye exams to catch early signs of glaucoma, living a healthy lifestyle can help.

Maintain a healthy weight

Being overweight can raise your IOP, so it’s important to lose weight if needed. Besides weight loss, good nutrition and regular exercise offer protection from glaucoma and glaucoma complications.

Eat nutritious foods with an abundance of fruits and vegetables and omega-3 fatty acids, which reduce oxidative stress and lower IOP.  Regular exercise can help with weight loss and it boosts blood flow, protecting you from glaucoma complications. However, discuss the type of exercise with your doctor, as some forms of exercise are better for those with glaucoma than others. 

Know your risk factors 

Genetics are a big part of glaucoma, so if you have a family history of this disease, it’s worth taking extra precautions. Additionally, those over 55 years old and with Asian, Black, or Hispanic backgrounds are at greater risk. 

Other risk factors include chronic medical issues like diabetes or hypertension. Follow your doctor’s guidelines to manage long-term health concerns. 

At Focus Refined Eye Care in The Heights and Montrose sections of Houston, Texas, Dr. Patel prescribes medications for glaucoma when necessary, and surgery could be an option. You can schedule your appointment online