Glaucoma is an important cause of irreversible sight loss. Millions of people across the world have lost their sight as a result of untreated glaucoma. The sight loss is caused by damage to the optic nerve, which connects the eye to the brain.
Fortunately, glaucoma can be diagnosed and detected rather readily. With careful management, sight loss can be prohibited and slowed, with treatment principally controlling the pressure in the eye. Treatment is a combination of medicine, laser, conventional or minimally invasive surgery.
Because it can lead to sight loss a glaucoma, diagnosis can be unsettling. Treatment for the condition may also cause fears and concerns about what it might involve.
In this article, Gurjeet Jutley discusses the fears of glaucoma treatment.
Glaucoma is a highly emotive condition, and we see in patients that it provokes all kinds of different reactions. Often, sadly fear can be the first reaction to a diagnosis. The importance of the team in reducing stigma, educating, and offering support cannot be under-estimated.
Everyone varies in dealing with the diagnosis. Some people prefer to be well-informed as possible, whereas others prefer a degree of ignorance, allowing the healthcare professionals to take control of management. The key thing is regular attendance and working as part of a team.
Neither approach is right or wrong, and what works for one person may not work for another. If you’re looking to become as well-informed as possible then it’s important to check where you’re getting your information from. Not every source, particularly online, is reliable and it could exacerbate your concerns. Organisations such as Glaucoma UK provide reliable information for glaucoma sufferers and their loved ones, as well as invaluable online support.
The ophthalmic team will assess parameters including such as pressure, anatomy of the eye, the structure and function of the optic nerve.
Usually, the first line of treatment for glaucoma is eye drops and it is imperative to follow closely the directions of use. Studies have found that many glaucoma patients don’t use their drops as directed. They may not space them properly, or perhaps only use them prior to an appointment with an ophthalmologist. This makes it more likely that a patient will need further treatment, which is usually invasive and incurs risks.
If further treatment is necessary
In some cases, further treatment cannot be avoided. Support groups such as those run by Glaucoma UK can put you in touch with people who have already successfully undergone the same procedures who can be a source of reassurance and support.
Take care of your lifestyle
General lifestyle measures are extremely important for general ocular health. This includes eating healthily with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables and reducing your intake of processed high calorie and high sugar content foods. Caffeine and alcohol can also be problematic, and smoking should be avoided. Exercise, even just a half-hour daily walk in the park, can be highly beneficial.
All of these positive lifestyle changes can not only help you manage your glaucoma, they can also assist in managing any fears and anxieties you have about your condition and its treatment.