Let’s learn about glaucoma today. Most people don’t know what this is, other than it affects your eyes. I was diagnosed with glaucoma last year in August and while I was scared at first, I’ve been slowly learning that this is one of those things that will be with me until the day I die.

G IS FOR GLAUCOMA

So, what is glaucoma? It’s an eye disease that typically affects more mature adults (like over 65). It is not contagious and it’s not curable. It is not painful and most of the time people don’t even know they have it.

How does one get glaucoma? The majority of the time it is a hereditary condition – good ol’ genetics. In my situation, no one in my family has glaucoma so my doctors were a bit concerned that the glaucoma was caused by a tumor behind the eyes, increasing the pressure. An MRI showed that is not the case. I do not have a tumor (thank you Lord!). However, I’ve always had low blood pressure and they believe that my eyes have not been getting the oxygen and blood flow that they need.

glaucoma - optic nerveWhat causes glaucoma? It’s the result of pressure in the eye building up and not releasing as it should. This pressure damages the optic nerve. At the back of your eyes is a little tunnel that contains your optic nerve – in fact, it’s made up of about a million nerve fibers. The optic nerve connects to the brain and relays all sorts of information. When an eye is functioning normally, there is an aqueaus gel/liquid behind your eye. This gel nourishes the eye and helps to keep it healthy. Throughout the day this gel ebbs and flows from the eye, nourishing other tissues around the eye. In the case of glaucoma, the liquid has problems flowing out of the eye at a regular rate which causes pressure to rise in the eye. The liquid forces its way out of the eye through the optic nerve area and damages the nerves. Once the optic nerve is damaged there is no way to repair it. That’s where the loss of sight begins. Over time, if not treated, a person with glaucoma can become blind.

How is glaucoma treated? If caught early enough, it can be treated with eye drops taken daily. The eye drops help the aqueaus liquid to ebb and flow the way it should without causing increased pressure. If the drops stop working, there are other options, including surgery – but these are not permanent fixes.

And what have we learned from this? Many things.

  1. Trust in the Lord. He knows all and nothing is a surprise to Him. Even if I go blind at some point (which I really pray that I don’t), I’ll still praise Him and use my glaucoma as a way to help others.
  2. Go see your eye doctor. Don’t wait. It may not be curable but it is treatable. Once your eyesite is gone, it’s gone. So, don’t wait.
  3. If you do have glaucoma, take your eye drops. It’s really the easiest thing to do and there should be no excuses for you NOT taking your medicine. Period.
  4. Follow the doctor’s instructions. For me, that means not putting my feet over my head (as that increases eye pressure). And, I need to eat right and continue to exercise (as exercise helps reduce pressure).

You can find more information at the National Eye Institute’s website.

To discover more “G” posts – check out Blogging Through the Alphabet below.

Hopkins Homeschool

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