5 Essential Tips for New Glaucoma Patients

Being told you have an eye condition that could cause vision loss can be scary, but don’t panic. You’re probably feeling overwhelmed with questions about what comes next. The good news is, several treatment options for glaucoma can slow or halt progression. From medicated eye drops to laser therapy and microsurgery, the treatment plan your eye doctor in Sun City, Arizona, recommends will help preserve your vision. Furthermore, while the reality is that glaucoma can’t be cured, you can control it.


Newly Diagnosed With Glaucoma: Now What?

Read on for effective tips and strategies for managing a new glaucoma diagnosis.


1. Understand Your Condition

Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that wreak havoc on the optic nerve, which is responsible for transmitting signals from your eye to your brain. The most common forms are open-angle glaucoma, where eye pressure builds over time, and closed-angle glaucoma, where the drainage angle of the eye gets blocked. Dive deeper into open-angle vs. closed-angle glaucoma here.

Glaucoma progresses slowly and painlessly, which is a double-edged sword. Early detection and care are crucial to prevent vision loss and blindness, but the lack of symptoms often leads to late diagnoses. Hopefully, you detected yours early on by visiting an eye doctor every year.


2. Follow Your Glaucoma Treatment Plan

photo of a man putting eyedrops

Treatment helps manage glaucoma and prevent further vision loss. However, keep in mind that it cannot reverse any existing damage. Your options include:

  • Medication: The most common treatment for glaucoma is prescription eye drops, which work by lowering pressure in your eye. Your ophthalmologist in Phoenix may prescribe different drops or combinations of drops to determine what works best for you based on the severity and type of your glaucoma. It’s critical to use the drops as directed. If you have difficulty remembering, set an alarm on your phone.
  • Surgery: For some patients, glaucoma medication is insufficient to control eye pressure and prevent vision loss. In such cases, your doctor may propose surgical procedures like trabeculectomy and tube shunt implantation. These surgeries create an opening that allows fluid to drain from your eye. Glaucoma surgery effectively stabilizes vision when medication is no longer working. However, like any invasive procedure, it can cause side effects like infection and bleeding in the eye, but these complications are rare.

More modern treatments for glaucoma include laser therapy and implantable glaucoma drainage devices. Talk to an eye doctor near you about these options and whether they can benefit you.


3. Commit to Scheduled Eye Health Appointments

Attend all appointments with your doctor. They will check your eye pressure and optic nerve for changes to determine if your treatment plan is working or needs adjusting.

photo of a person getting an eye exam

You should also monitor your vision at home with regular visual field tests. See your doctor right away if you notice vision changes like blurriness, shadows, or missing areas of your peripheral (side) vision.


4. Adopt a Healthy Lifestyle

Research shows that certain lifestyle choices may support glaucoma management.

a photo rof a woman dressed in sportswear stretching her legs

  • Exercise regularly: Regular exercise may reduce intraocular pressure (IOP) in glaucoma patients. If you are generally sedentary or inactive, start with simple physical activities like brisk walking every other day for 30 minutes or longer.
  • Eat an eye-healthy diet: Focus on leafy greens, fatty fish, and citrus fruits, which provide nutrients like lutein, zeaxanthin, omega-3s, and vitamin C — all important for eye health and possibly slowing glaucoma progression. Limit caffeine, salt, and sugar, which can elevate eye pressure and aggravate glaucoma symptoms.
  • Don’t smoke: Smoking is terrible for your health, including your eyes. Glaucoma is over twice as likely to worsen in heavy cigarette smokers. Heavy smokers are also 2.2 times more likely to experience vision loss progression than people who have never smoked. If you smoke, make a plan to quit as soon as possible. Your doctor can suggest resources to help you stop smoking for good.
  • Get enough sleep: Aim for 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night. Lack of sleep can elevate eye pressure, stress your eyes, and exacerbate glaucoma symptoms. Establish a calming bedtime routine to ensure you get good quality rest.
  • Manage stress: Too much stress causes cortisol spikes that are hard on your eyes. Try proven relaxation techniques like meditation, deep breathing, massage, or music therapy. Spending quality time with people closest to you, engaging in hobbies you enjoy, and limiting screen time before bed can also help lower stress.

Focus on living an active, smoke-free life with healthy eating, sufficient sleep, limited stress, and regular checkups to be well on your way to managing your glaucoma and vision loss risk.


5. Communicate With Your Doctor

Effective communication with your ophthalmologist is crucial for successful glaucoma management. Think of your relationship with your eye care provider as a collaborative team effort, with the shared objective of keeping your condition under control. As you probably know, different treatment options can have varying side effects, so consult your glaucoma specialist about any concerns you may have. Factors unique to your situation will influence therapeutic decisions, and your Sun City ophthalmologist stands ready to address issues or implement changes to optimize your treatment regimen and health outcomes.


The Bottom Line

Managing your glaucoma diagnosis depends on educating yourself, faithfully following your eye doctor’s recommendations, making necessary lifestyle modifications, and avoiding stress (it’s bad for your eyes!). Take it day by day, focus on what you can control, and remember that with proper treatment and monitoring, you and your doctor can slow or prevent glaucoma progression. Staying positive and solution-focused will also serve you well. Remember, though the diagnosis is life-changing, it doesn’t mean life as you know it is over.


Glaucoma Screenings in Sun City, Arizona

If you or a loved one experiences intense eye pain, blurred vision, and other potential signs of eye disease, we urge you to contact us at 623-474-3937 for an ophthalmic exam. Glaucoma testing is a preventative approach that can protect your precious eyesight. If our doctors detect glaucoma, we can recommend and provide solutions right away. Act now.


www.arizonaretinalspecialists.com is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, medical treatment, or therapy. Always seek the advice of your physician or qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding any health symptom or medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice nor delay in seeking professional advice or treatment because of something you have read on www.arizonaretinalspecialists.com