Do you think you will know if you have glaucoma?
The first symptom of the most common type of glaucoma (open angle) is permanent loss of vision. Once vision loss occurs it is downhill, the damage from glaucoma is irreversible and challenging to slow down.
Glaucoma signs include increase intra-ocular pressure (IOP) which is measured during an eye exam. Visual field loss, also measured during an eye examination and loss of retinal nerve fibers and damage to the optic nerve, visible during a dilated eye examination. The best way to determine if you have or are at risk of glaucoma is by having a dilated eye examination.
Glaucoma is a disease of the optic nerve usually caused by increased pressure inside the eye.
Age – greater than 60
Race – African American have higher risk
Glaucoma is treated with drops or surgery and sometimes both.
Don’t wait until you have vision loss to learn that you have glaucoma, schedule an eye exam today.
New research indicates that leafy greens may be healthier than we thought. Eating vegetables like kale, spinach and collard greens may not cure glaucoma but they may be protective against developing primary open angle glaucoma(POAG). The research revealed that people who ate a lot of leafy greens had a 40 to 50 percent lower risk of acquiring POAG.
The reason these super foods offer such great protection is related to the dietary nitrate they contain. It’s thought that glaucoma impairs blood flow to the optic nerve. Nitric oxide helps regulate this flow. Since leafy greens contain high levels of nitrate, the precursor to nitric oxide, consuming them likely keeps things flowing more smoothly.
A significant amount of other new research is currently aimed at developing therapeutics that treat glaucoma by way of nitric oxide. In fact, the FDA is reviewing at least one new medication that donated nitric oxide. But thanks to this latest study, far fewer people will need it if they load up on their leafy green vegetables before any glaucomatous damage is done.
So how much roughage do you need to eat to protect yourself from glaucoma? In this study, those who consumed the most leafy greens, averaged about 1.5 servings per day, which equates to about one and a half cups. Leafy greens include kale, spinach, dandelion greens, romaine lettuce, radicchio, leaf lettuce, arugula, Swiss chard, rapini (broccoli rabe) and collard greens.
According to the book, EyeFoods, by Drs. Campagna and Pelletier, the leafy greens are the rockstars of eye nutrients. They include lutein, zeaxanthin, beta-carotene, vitamin E, vitamin C, zinc and fiber. If you’re not accustomed to the tastes and textures of leafy green vegetables, start slowly. Begin with some lettuce leaves or spinach. Add a few leaves of kale or arugula to a salad or soup. Work your way toward at least a serving per day.
According to a study reported at the World Glaucoma Congress, the most efficient way to detect Primary Open-Angle Glaucoma (POAG), which is the most common form of glaucoma, is by knowing the medical history of close relatives with the disease. If you have a parent, sibling or child with POAG you have a greater than 25% chance of developing the disease. Others at risk include African Americans over 40, and anyone over 60, especially Mexican Americans. The earlier POAG is detected, the better the prognosis for retaining vision throughout one’s life. POAG occurs when the fluid that nourishes the eye cannot drain properly and the resulting increased pressure inside the eye damages the optic nerve. This is painless and not visually noticeable at first, but will lead to vision loss and blindness if left untreated. Increased pressure in the eye isn’t a sure sign of POAG, but it is a sign of increased risk for the disease. To read more about glaucoma click here.
Early diagnosis is of utmost importance. Dr. Griffith examines different parts of your eye to determine if you have or are at risk for developing POAG. Detection and diagnosis relies on tests for pressure within the eye (Tonometry), corneal thickness (Pachymetry) and observation of the optic nerve (Ophthalmoscopy), quantification of the retinal nerve fiber layer (Optical Coherence Tomography) and visual fields, including peripheral vision. Because of the increased risk among family members, a review of family history is also part of the screening. (Likewise, a positive diagnosis of POAG would be valuable information for close family members.)
Vision lost to glaucoma cannot be restored. The goal with treatment is to slow the disease progress and prevent further vision loss. The most common treatment is a prescription eye drop meant to reduce pressure in the eye. It is important for Dr. Griffith to be aware of other medications you are taking in order to find a compatible treatment for the glaucoma; fortunately there are usually several options. Additional treatment includes laser surgery or sometimes more traditional surgery; both physically alter and improve the drainage structure in the eye. In conclusion, regular eye examinations are vital to prevent unnecessary vision loss. If you are newly diagnosed with POAG or any form of glaucoma, Dr. Griffith can give you more detailed information.
November is Diabetes Awareness month. High amounts of blood sugar can harm the internal structures of the eye. Below are some of the things that diabetes can do to the eyes.
Actions to take right now include the following: Eating sensibly, the American Diabetes Association recommends filling half your plate with vegetables, a quarter of the plate should be lean protein and the rest a carbohydrate. Make time for 30 minutes of exercise everyday. Take your medicine as prescribed and know your blood sugar level.
Preventing diabetes is the best way to avoid diabetic damage to the eyes, but if you already have diabetes, regular eye examinations can prevent permanent damage to the eye due to elevated blood sugar.
Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases in which the pressure inside the eye may or may not be elevated. If untreated, vision loss or blindness may occur.
January is Glaucoma Awareness Month
Unfortunately, the most common type of glaucoma – open angle, causes no symptoms. Vision doesn’t change, and there is no pain. However, as the disease progresses, a person with glaucoma may notice his or her side vision gradually failing. That is, objects in front may still be seen clearly, but objects to the side may be missed. As the disease worsens, the field of vision narrows and blindness results.
Studies have shown that early detection and treatment of glaucoma, before it causes major vision loss, is the best way to control the disease. So, if you fall into one of the high-risk groups for the disease, make sure to have your eyes examined annually. Individuals at high risk for glaucoma include African Americans over the age of 40, everyone over 60 and people with a family history of glaucoma.
There isn’t a single test to diagnose glaucoma. Drs. Griffith and Staton examine the appearance of the optic nerve, the intra-ocular pressure and visual field results. Further testing such as measurement of the corneal thickness (pachymetry), examination of the anterior chamber and measurement of the integrity of the nerve fiber layer can be helpful in the diagnosis and treatment of glaucoma.
We already know that smoking is a significant risk factor for macular degeneration, but a new study shows that it also causes damage to the eye in the same way glaucoma does.
Researchers in Turkey evaluated the effect of smoking on the retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL) which collects visual impulses from photoreceptors (rods and cones) and ganglion cells in the retina and transmits these impulses to the optic nerve.
A total of 88 adults between the ages of 20 and 50 participated in the study: 44 had smoked at least one pack of cigarettes a day for more than 10 years, and 44 did not smoke. All were in good health and there were no significant differences in age, gender, refractive errors or eye pressure between the two groups.
Examinations of the subjects retinas revealed the mean thickness of the retinal nerve fiber layer of the smokers was significantly thinner than that of the non-smokers. Thinning of the RNFL is also associated with eye diseases such as glaucoma which cause loss of peripheral vision and even blindness.
To be clear, smoking doesn’t cause glaucoma, but it does appear to cause the same destruction of the eye which leads to loss of vision. If you don’t smoke now, don’t start and if you do smoke, think seriously about stopping. Make it a resolution that you keep in 2015.
Over time uncontrolled blood sugar and poor circulation can harm the internal structures of the eye.
Blurry or Double Vision
Fluctuating blood sugar and fluctuating vision are connected. A change in glucose levels affects the eye’s ability to maintain sharp focus. It may take several months after your blood sugar is well controlled for your vision to stabilize.
The leading cause of diabetes-related vision loss is diabetic retinopathy. Diabetic retinopathy can damages the network of blood vessels supplying the retina or cause the growth of abnormal blood vessels on the retina. When these fragile blood vessels leak, the fluid and blood damage the retina and can cause permanent vision loss.
People with diabetes have a much greater risk for developing cataracts and at an earlier age. A cataract is clouding of the eye’s natural lens and results in the inability to focus light, glare and compromised vision,
Diabetes also increases your risk of developing glaucoma. Glaucoma causes irreversible damage to the retina and optic nerve. If untreated, this damage leads to vision loss.
Scheduling regular eye exams can help detect diabetes-related eye diseases before they cause irreversible damage.
Exercise, a healthy diet and keeping glucose levels and blood pressure controlled can also help control eye problems.
It’s a fact of life that vision can change over time, resulting in a number of noticeable differences in how aging adults see the world around them.
Common age-related vision problems include difficulty seeing things up close or far away, problems seeing in low light or at night, and sensitivity to light and glare. Some symptoms that may seem like minor vision problems may actually be signs of serious eye diseases that could lead to permanent vision loss, including:
Many eye diseases have no early symptoms and may develop painlessly; therefore adults may not notice changes in vision until the condition is quite advanced. Healthy lifestyle choices can help ward off eye diseases and maintain existing eyesight. Eating a low-fat diet rich in green, leafy vegetables and fish, not smoking, monitoring blood pressure levels, exercising regularly and wearing proper sunglasses to protect eyes from Ultraviolet (UV) rays can all play a role in preserving eyesight and eye health. Early diagnosis, treatment of serious eye diseases and disorders is critical and can often prevent a total loss of vision, improve adults’ independence and quality of life.
The best way to prevent eye disease and continue leading an active productive live is to maintain yearly eye exams or follow the doctor’s recommendations.
There are no symptoms for glaucoma. Vision stays normal and there is no pain. However, as the disease progresses, a person with glaucoma may notice a decrease in his or her side vision. Once vision is lost to glaucoma, it can’t be restored. That is why it is important to have regular eye examinations with pupil dilation.
Measurement of the “eye pressure” is just one factor in determining glaucoma. In fact, it is the damage to the optic nerve that confirms the diagnosis of glaucoma. The optic nerve is examined by dilating the pupil to view it with stereopsis (with depth). The dilation also allows better, clearer fundus (back of the eye) pictures to be taken for year-to-year comparison.
Visual field testing measures the nerve fiber layer in the eye and can detect loss of important nerve tissue before optic nerve changes occur.
Studies have shown that early detection and treatment of glaucoma is the best way to control the disease. To learn more about glaucoma and how it is treated, click here.