Glaucoma in Senior Citizens

Do you or your senior loved one experience pressure in their eyes or feel as if there is a fluid that has built up? Do you have eye pain or blurred vision? If so, you or your loved one may be experiencing signs of glaucoma, which is a medical condition that causes damage to the optic nerve. In essence, glaucoma is a broad term used to describe a myriad of situations that occur once the optic nerve has been impaired. In some cases, this can lead to vision loss. To explain this condition further, glaucoma typically occurs when there is too much pressure that builds up in the eyes and then leads to open-angle or angle-closure glaucoma.  Open-angle glaucoma occurs when the eye’s drainage system becomes clogged which causes damage to the optic nerve and pressure. In contrast, angle-close glaucoma occurs when there is sudden pressure within the eye that leads to pressure and fluid drainage. Interestingly, open-angle cases are more prevalent and make up about 90% of all glaucoma cases.

According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, individuals who are over 65 have a higher chance of obtaining this condition and 75% of seniors who have been diagnosed with this condition, end up being legally blind. If you or your loved one are a senior citizen and are concerned about glaucoma, please keep reading. In this article, we will discuss glaucoma as well as the common symptoms of glaucoma, treatment options, and more.

Symptoms of Glaucoma

As far as symptoms are concerned, it depends on the individuals. Those who have the eye disease may or may not experience vision disturbances like tunnel or blurred vision, blind spots, eye pain or swelling, redness in eyes or eyeball changes, night halos, nausea, etc. That said, some people do not realize that they have glaucoma until their vision has become exceedingly dangerous, often to the point where it has become irreparably damaged. Although regular eye exams are advised, they are especially important for senior citizens. In fact, if you or the senior in your life experiences any of the above-mentioned symptoms, seek the assistance of an ophthalmologist or optometrist immediately. When glaucoma is detected early, there are treatment options available that can help preserve your eyesight.

Glaucoma Treatments

Treatment options for Glaucoma include eye drops, prescription medications, laser, or traditional eye surgery. If conventional surgery is chosen, a trabeculectomy is performed whereby a small hole is made in the eye and covered by a thin door. This procedure lessens the intraocular pressure inside the eye. For individuals with open-angle glaucoma, they typically receive ALT (Argon Laser Trabeculoplasty) or SLT (Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty). For those with angle-closure glaucoma, they usually receive LPI (Laser Peripheral Iridotomy).

Typically the treatment plan will depend on the patient’s preference, age, symptoms, and other factors as well. By working with your ophthalmologist, you can choose the best option. After a treatment plan has been composed, it is paramount that you take care of the individual after treatment. At the Nurses Guild, an experienced at-home health care agency, they have medical professionals on-call to assist with the healing process. For instance, they can help monitor eye redness and irritation as well as administer pain medication and eye-drops and support the patient who may have blurred vision. They can also make sure that the individuals rests after activities, wear sunglasses when outside, remind them to take medications, etc. In essence, they can help you with the healing process.

If you and a loved one have glaucoma, there are several signs you should watch out for including pain, blurred vision, redness, etc. If you suspect glaucoma, seek the assistance of an optometrist or ophthalmologist so that treatment can begin right away. Glaucoma can definitely be treated!