As people are living to older and older ages, the need to take extra care of your eyes is critical. It is not enough to live longer, but rather, we should be focused on the quality of those years gained and having your eyesight is a critical part of your health and the enjoyment you will derive in your senior years.
What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is one of those conditions that rob seniors of their eyesight. Glaucoma is a condition where there is increasing pressure inside of your eye which distorts your vision. It is a complicated disease which we now know has both environmental causes as well as a genetic predisposition. While there are treatments, there is no cure and prevention is the rule of thumb for avoiding this condition that robs over 60 million people of their eye site.
Currently, according to Dr. Vincent Penza of City Optometry in San Francisco, CA, regular eye exams are the best form of prevention against significant glaucoma damage. “Early detection and careful, lifelong treatment can maintain the vision in most people with signs of glaucoma, reported Dr. Penza. “In general, a check for glaucoma should be done:
before age 40, every two to four years
from age 40 to age 54, every one to three years
from age 55 to 64, every one to two years
after age 65, every six to 12 months”
Anyone with high risk factors should be tested every year or two after age 35. Those at higher risk include people of African descent, people with diabetes, and people with a family history of glaucoma. New research has discovered significant genetic links to the condition. You are at increased risk if you have a parent or brother or sister with glaucoma.
Glaucoma Treatment in San Francisco
While there are no known ways of preventing glaucoma if the disease is recognized in the early stages, significant vision loss from glaucoma can be prevented. In its most common form, primary open angle glaucoma, vision loss is unrecognized, slow, and progressive. It typically affects a person’s side vision first (peripheral vision) and as it progresses, central vision can also be lost.
The available glaucoma medications slow the progression of glaucoma by reducing increased pressure inside of the eye to prevent damage to the optic nerve. Surgical treatments are also available.
Dr. Penza adds, “A regular program of moderate exercise will benefit a patient’s overall health and studies have shown that moderate exercise such as walking briskly or jogging three or more times every week can also lower the pressure on the inside of the eye. San Francisco has many great walking and jogging paths that encourage many of our patients to get out as often as possible.” The benefits from exercise last only as long as you continue exercising; this is why moderate exercise on a routine basis is recommended.
“Wearing protective eyewear is also important when engaged in outdoor activities such as sports or home improvement projects” stated Dr. Vincent Penza from his San Francisco eye clinic.