Advice for Healthy Eyes from Glenn K. Davis, II, MD
For Glaucoma Awareness Month, Glenn K. Davis, II, MD offers some important advice for everyone. Do you know if you are at risk for getting glaucoma? For those with glaucoma, do you know the signs of eye emergencies? We may all take having healthy eyes for granted until we encounter problems. Let’s raise glaucoma awareness and pay special attention to the signs and symptoms.
Healthy Eye Exams, Glaucoma Screening, and Glaucoma Exams
We start where you and the doctor may encounter the word “glaucoma.” This would be during your regular healthy eye exam. You may ask, or the doctor may suggest, that he perform a glaucoma screening.
Glaucoma screening is a first step, simply to check eye pressure. A full glaucoma exam consists of:
- Measuring eye pressure
- Inspecting the eye’s drainage angle
- Examining the optic nerve for damage
- Testing peripheral (side) vision
- Taking an image or computer measurement of the optic nerve
- Measuring the thickness of the cornea
Glaucoma Issues and Attacks Require Treatment
Glaucoma remains the leading cause of irreversible blindness in the U.S. This is due to the fact that vision loss from glaucoma happens gradually. It is also a great reason to schedule an eye exam and have a glaucoma test.
Open-angle glaucoma is the most common type that the eye doctor may discover. The main problem of open-angle glaucoma is a failure to drain aqueous fluid from the eye. For most people, the added fluid pressure builds painlessly but damages the optic nerve. Those who are sensitive to the added pressure may suffer from acute glaucoma attacks.
Glaucoma Awareness Month: Signs of Acute Glaucoma Attacks
When glaucoma does cause severe pain, there is a list of possible signs to know. These may vary, but be aware of these signs of an eye emergency:
- Sudden onset of blurry vision
- Severe eye pain
- Nausea; feeling sick to your stomach
- Throwing up; vomiting
- Seeing rainbow-colored rings or halos around lights
Who May Have a Higher Risk for Glaucoma?
As part of Glaucoma Awareness Month, become familiar with the factors that may lead to higher risk of getting this condition:
- People over age 40
- Those with a family history of glaucoma
- People of African, Hispanic, or Asian heritage
- Those with high eye pressure
- Those diagnosed as farsighted or nearsighted
- People who have had an eye injury
- People taking long-term steroid medication
- Those who have corneas that are thin in the center
- People who have thinning of the optic nerve
- Those with systemic health problems, such as diabetes, migraines, high blood pressure, poor blood circulation, and more.
If you suspect any of these factors may be true for you, schedule an appointment with Dr. Davis to learn more.
Glaucoma Medication and Treatments Available
Once you and your eye doctor know and discuss the type of glaucoma you have, the doctor may prescribe medication. The most common medication is daily eye drops to help lower the eye pressure. Patients who are not used to applying eye drops soon learn some tips for putting drops in your eye:
- Start by tilting your head backward while sitting, standing, or lying down. With your index finger placed on the soft spot just below the lower lid, gently pull down to form a pocket.
- Look up. Squeeze one drop into the pocket in your lower lid. Don’t blink, wipe your eye, or touch the tip of the bottle on your eye or face.
- Close your eye. Keep closed for three minutes without blinking.
Possible Side Effects of Eye Medications for Glaucoma
Remember to report any other side effects of eye medication for glaucoma to your doctor. Alone or combined with other medication, the following are some problems reported by patients:
- Stinging or itching sensations
- Red eyes or red skin around the eyes
- Changes in your pulse and heartbeat
- Changes in your energy level
- Breathing changes, especially if you already have asthma or trouble breathing
- Dry mouth
- Blurred vision
- Eyelash growth
- Eye color changes, or change in eyelid appearance
Continue Regular Checkups with Dr. Davis to Treat Glaucoma
Patients with glaucoma also report much success and relief after receiving a diagnosis and taking medication. Glaucoma treatment is available from Dr. Davis at our offices in Pulaski, VA, and Galax, VA. Monitoring the condition of glaucoma usually means visiting for a checkup every three to six months.
For excellence in eye care, schedule your appointment with Glenn K. Davis, II, MD, today. Call our offices in Pulaski, (540) 980-1965, or Galax, (276) 236-8307. Stay in touch by liking us on Facebook for updates on eye health and more on Glaucoma Awareness Month.