World Glaucoma Week 2018
It's World Glaucoma Week. So here are a few of the most popular glaucoma questions answered.
By the time we reach 80 years of age, 1 in 10 of us will have developed this sight-threatening condition, so it helps for everyone to be informed about what to do to help prevent glaucoma silently stealing your sight. If you have a family history, are diabetic, are of black, African or Caribbean decent or very short sighted you are at increased risk of developing glaucoma so things you learn in this article could just save your sight.
What is the best way to diagnose glaucoma, save your sight and monitor the condition?
You can lose 40% of your vision before you or standard visual field eye test may notice. Earlier detection is possible and can help you prevent any sight loss. Award winning Buchanan Optometrists offer a glaucoma Ultimate Ophthalmic examination which can offer early diagnosis as well as assessing your risk and monitoring the condition. Alisdair Buchanan explains the best way to detect tiny changes to your optic nerves is through Heidelberg OCT scanning and assessment by an experienced optometrist. 'A 3D scan (very different to the retinal photographs most opticians offer) can detect changes as small as 1000th of a mm. Far smaller than a human eye can ever detect. Using this technology we can now detect glaucoma and see progression far earlier than before.'
What are the latest treatments for glaucoma? Are drops still the best answer?
Eye drops to lower the pressure of the eye have traditionally been the first line of treatment for glaucoma. In most cases drops can work very well at stabilising the condition and preventing further progression. But they don't work for every case and some have unpleasant side effects. Drops can also be hard to administer for some people. Therefore new treatments which avoid eye drops have become increasingly popular. Laser treatments, stents, operations and new drugs may make your glaucoma treatment more effective and easier to manage. Ask our Optometrists about your particular case for advice.
Can what you eat and how you exercise affect your glaucoma?
There is some evidence suggesting that regular exercise can reduce eye pressure (IOP) on its own, and can also have a positive impact on other glaucoma risk factors including diabetes and high blood pressure. Some forms of glaucoma (such as closed-angle) are not responsive to the effects of exercise, and other forms of glaucoma (pigmentary glaucoma) may actually develop a temporary increase in IOP after vigorous exercise. So check with your Optometrist to see if exercise can help you.
Many studies have shown that eating leafy greens can have a measurable impact on glaucoma.
The thought is that certain vitamins and minerals have a protective influence on the retinal cells by acting as antioxidants, as well as increasing oxygen flow to the area therefore reducing the likelihood that pressures will damage the retina.
One study showed that consuming kale or collard greens just two or three servings a month was associated with half the risk of glaucoma compared to once a month or less.
Do vitamin tablets help?
There is no one single glaucoma tablet yet. But research shows vitamin C, Omega-3 fatty acids and many botanicals such as Ginkgo biloba and bilberry may also have a positive effect on glaucoma. Always ask your GP or ophthalmologist before starting a new diet or vitamins.
What else can you do to prevent glaucoma starting or progressing?
- Stop smoking. Cigarette smoke increases blood pressure and damages the tiny blood vessels in the eye, reducing the amount of oxygen reaching the retina.
- Ask your Optometrist if sleeping slightly elevated could help your condition. Studies suggest that sleeping with the head elevated 20-30 degrees reduces night-time IOP measurements compared with sleeping flat.
- Playing a wind instrument may lead to a transient increase in the intraocular pressure. Glaucoma patients who play these instruments should discuss this with their ophthalmologist.
To assess your risk or monitor your condition book a glaucoma ultimate Ophthalmic examination at award winning Buchanan Optometrists.