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Glaucoma Information To Share With Your Patients

Glaucoma Information To Share With Your Patients

12 January 2021

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This January, spread awareness about glaucoma, the leading cause of irreversible vision loss in the world. During the next few decades, the National Eye Institute projects the number of people with glaucoma will rise from more than 4 million in the year 2030 to more than 6 million in 2050. The increase in cases is attributed to an aging population, a growing minority population and a higher incidence of diabetes, among other factors.

Understanding Glaucoma, the “Silent Thief of Sight”

Although glaucoma medications and treatments are continually advancing, early detection is the best course of action. Unfortunately, many patients aren’t aware that glaucoma has no symptoms in the initial stages. An estimated 50 percent of people with glaucoma haven’t been diagnosed.

Here are some areas to discuss with patients, to help them understand the importance of glaucoma and early detection:

  • Glaucoma is asymptomatic in its earliest stages
  • Any vision loss associated with glaucoma is permanent
  • Glaucoma causes peripheral vision loss but can result in central vision loss and blindness in advanced stages
  • Treatment cannot reverse or cure glaucoma but can slow the progression of the disease
  • Risk factors for glaucoma include:
        • Older age (60+ years)
        • Family history of glaucoma
        • Diabetes
        • Hypertension
        • Black, Hispanic or Asian heritage
        • Elevated intraocular pressure
        • Thin corneas or low corneal hysteresis (stiffness)
        • Higher hyperopia or myopia
        • History of eye trauma
        • History of migraines or poor blood circulation

Advise patients with risk factors to receive comprehensive eye exams regularly. Encourage them to spread awareness among family members (especially if there is a family history) and friends who may also have risk factors. There are also free resources that make it easy for patients to share information about glaucoma.

Lifestyle Changes

Patients often want to know how to reduce their risk of developing glaucoma (or slow the progression of existing glaucoma). These are some tips you can share with patients:

  • Exercise routinely. Studies suggest that individuals can lower the risk of glaucoma significantly by meeting physical activity guidelines of at least 500 metabolic equivalent-minutes (MET-min) per week.
  • Mindfulness meditation. Meditation has been shown to lower intraocular pressure and reduce stress biomarkers, improving quality of life for glaucoma patients.
  • Nutritional management. Current evidence supports the role of diet in reducing intraocular pressure, incidence and progression of glaucoma. Some of these dietary changes include consumption of fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin A, vitamin C and carotenoids.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. A high body mass index (BMI) is associated with a higher risk of diabetes, hypertension and sleep apnea, all of which are considered risk factors for glaucoma. Additionally, very low BMIs have also been linked to glaucoma.
  • Quit smoking. Studies find that smoking is significantly associated with the risk of developing glaucoma. The heavier the smoker, the stronger the link.

In addition to these modifications, dispensing top-quality eyeglasses is another way you can help patients protect their eye health.

R&D Optical Lab carries a wide range of lens products, including customized mirrored, photochromic and polarized sun prescriptions. Practices or Eyecare Professionals looking for specialty lenses for their patients can order customizable safety eyewear, athletic eyewear, blue light lenses and other occupational needs. To learn more about our products, please contact us at 513-273-4034 or visit our website,  RandDOptical.com. For more tips and our latest updates, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram or LinkedIn!

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