At Southside Medical Center in Atlanta, GA, we are driven to help each of our clients live their best possible lives. We offer a wide range of services, including glaucoma treatment, to help our clients maintain their independence and quality of life. Today, we’re taking a closer look at everything you need to know about glaucoma, including what age the disease usually develops and how it is treated.
At What Age Does Glaucoma Usually Start?
Generally, people are likely to develop glaucoma when they are over 60 years of age. However, African Americans usually start to develop this disease when they are over the age of 40. Similarly, you are more likely to develop this disease before the age of 61 if you are of Inuit, Scandinavian, Irish, Russian, Japanese, or Hispanic descent.
Besides ethnicity, there are several other factors that affect the risk of developing glaucoma. You may develop it at a younger age than most if some other risk factors for developing the disease apply to you.
What Are the Most Significant Risk Factors for Developing Glaucoma?
Besides age and ethnicity, one of the most significant risk factors for developing glaucoma is your metabolic health. Diabetics are twice as likely as non-diabetics to develop glaucoma. Your genes also significantly affect your risk of developing this disease. Open-angle glaucoma is the most prevalent form of glaucoma, and it is hereditary. Other risk factors for developing this disease include:
- Poor vision
- Taking certain steroids
- Taking certain other drugs
- Having a history of eye injuries
- Having a family history of glaucoma
There are many other risk factors for developing glaucoma, too. For example, suffering from sickle cell anemia, hypertension, or heart disease drastically increases your risk of developing glaucoma. Additionally, you are more likely than others to develop this disease if you have thin corneas or high eye pressure.
Which Glaucoma Treatment Is Right for Me?
The optimal glaucoma treatment for you depends on several factors, including the severity of your condition and the type of glaucoma you suffer from. If you suffer from open-angle glaucoma, you may be able to treat your condition with prescription eyedrops that reduce ocular pressure by increasing how much fluid is excreted by your eyes or reducing how much fluid your eyes produce. Microsurgery or laser trabeculoplasty may also be effective.
A prescription oral medication may also be an effective glaucoma treatment for you if you are suffering from a mild or moderate form of the disease. Some of the most effective oral medications include carbonic anhydrase inhibitors and beta-blockers. Other effective ways to treat this disease include laser iridotomy and cyclophotocoagulation.
What Can I Do To Keep My Condition Well-Managed?
Exercising regularly is one of the best things you can do to keep your glaucoma well-managed. One of the greatest benefits of regular exercise is that it facilitates sufficient blood flow to your ocular nerves. However, you should talk to your eye expert before you start a new exercise routine. Certain activities can be detrimental due to their propensity to increase eye pressure.
It is also extremely important that you eat as nutritiously as you can. To help prevent your disease from worsening, you should eat plenty of dark, leafy greens that are rich in antioxidants. You should also eat fatty fish that are rich in omega-3s if there are no dietary restrictions that would prevent you from doing so. If you are a vegetarian or vegan, get plenty of healthy fatty acids by eating such foods as:
- Brussels sprouts
Abstaining from nicotine consumption is another effective way to mitigate the risk of your eye disease progressing. This is because nicotine consumption increases blood pressure, including the blood pressure in your eyes. Smoking is the most important form of nicotine consumption to avoid if you can’t give the chemical up entirely; cigarette smoke can result in eye inflammation, increasing your risk of developing cataracts or diabetes.
Moderate Your Caffeine Intake
You also must moderate your consumption of caffeine. Even drinking a cup of coffee to help you wake up in the morning can increase your ocular pressure significantly for up to 1.5 hours. It is important to be mindful of the amount of caffeine in the beverages you drink, such as energy drinks, coffee, tea, and soda.
However, it is not just beverages that can be high in caffeine. You also should be mindful of the amount of caffeine in the foods and pharmaceuticals you consume. For example, many weight loss drugs, anti-bloating medications, and analgesics are high in caffeine. Furthermore, foods, like dark chocolate, can be high in caffeine.
Do Yoga Carefully
There are many health benefits of yoga, but you must choose the positions you choose carefully. You should strongly consider avoiding such poses as the plow, standing forward bend, and downward-facing dog. You also may not want to put your legs up the wall. Generally, your eyes should remain above your heart. If you bend down, your eye pressure can increase significantly.
Avoid External Eye Pressure
It is also important that you avoid putting too much pressure on your eyes. If you feel like you need to rub your eyes to relieve itchiness, apply eyedrops to treat dryness.
Protect Your Eyes
Protecting your eyes is also vital if you want to mitigate the risk of your eye disease progressing. When you swim, wear goggles. If you wear makeup, choose non-allergenic options. If you are playing contact sports or doing yard work, you should wear protective glasses. You also should wear sunglasses outdoors, especially around water and sand.
Schedule Your Initial Consultation Today
Depending on your ethnicity and metabolic health, your risk of developing glaucoma may be particularly high when you become older than 40 or 60. However, it is possible to develop this disease at a younger age. To discover how your glaucoma can best be treated, contact us today at Southside Medical Center in Atlanta, GA to schedule an initial consultation.