Early in the disease, there are minimal restrictions on lifestyle other than taking medications and keeping follow up visits. Specific activities that can worsen glaucoma in some patients include:
- prolonged body inversion (turning upside down such as with yoga or gravity boots)
- heavy weight lifting (associated with holding one’s breath while lifting)
- drinking large volumes of fluids.
Later in the disease, the vision may be affected to the point that some activities become dangerous. These include driving and operating hazardous machinery. You should consult your eye doctor regarding specific restrictions based on your level of vision.
With modern medicines and surgical techniques, many glaucoma patients can retain good vision for their lifetime. However, treatment is of greatest benefit when started early in the course of the disease.
Because glaucoma is a “silent” thief of sight, all persons should have an eye exam to exclude its presence and re-examination every few years. These repeat exams must be more frequent for those with a family history of glaucoma, with advancing age and with black or Hispanic heritage. Only by catching glaucoma early can the tragedy of irreversible visual loss be prevented.
It is common to feel depressed or fearful when you are diagnosed with a chronic condition like glaucoma. Fortunately, most patients with glaucoma experience very little change in their lifestyle and ability to work, drive and enjoy leisure activities. Should you feel like you are losing hope or are overcome with fear, please discuss this with us – the physicians and staff at Eye Health Northwest have decades of experience in the treatment and management of glaucoma and are dedicated to helping our patients live and cope with this condition.