5 Daily Habits for Seniors Who Want to Reduce Their Risk of Glaucoma
Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that damage the optic nerve and if left unattended, can lead to vision loss and blindness. Although eye pressure is the only modifiable factor currently known, several other lifestyle and non-lifestyle factors can also contribute to the risk of developing glaucoma, especially among senior citizens.
- Age - people who are over the age of 60
- Race - people of African American descent who are over the age of 40 and Hispanics who are over the age of 60 are at a higher risk compared to other races
- Family History - especially if a parent or sibling has the disease
- Other Medical Conditions - some conditions such as nearsightedness and diabetes
While everyone is at risk of getting glaucoma, for senior citizens, the reality can hit a bit closer to home. That is why this National Glaucoma Awareness Month, we would like to share some practical habits and routines they can implement as part of their daily life to help reduce the risk of developing glaucoma.
Low-impact aerobic exercise that moderately raises the heartbeat has been shown to reduce eye pressure. A walk around the neighborhood 3-4 times a week for 20 minutes is a good start towards keeping the eye pressure at normal range and glaucoma away.
Other mild exercises include:
- Jogging (on a treadmill or outdoors)
- Bike Riding (stationary or outdoors)
2. Maintain Good Blood Pressure Levels
Both high and low blood pressure levels may increase eye pressure and put your senior loved one at risk of developing glaucoma. That's why it's important to maintain normal blood pressure readings, ideally 130/80 mm Hg, and they can achieve it by implementing simple habits such as:
- Monitoring blood pressure
- Eating a healthy diet
- Moderate exercise
- Limiting alcohol and salt intake
3. Wear Proper Eye Protection
Eye injuries can also put the elderly at a high risk of developing glaucoma. Some of the ways seniors can protect their eyes include:
- Wearing the appropriate eye protection for gardening and woodwork activities
- Putting on 100% UV-blocking sunglasses and a brimmed hat when heading outdoors
4. Adopt Proper Sleeping Positions
Since eye pressure is known to rise at night, the sleeping positions seniors routinely utilize play a big role in reducing the risk of glaucoma. They should avoid sleeping with their eyes turned to a pillow and change to raising their head using a pillow, or adopt an upright sleeping position.
5. Get Regular Eye Checkups
Getting regular eye exams from an eye doctor is crucial in preserving the eye health of your loved one. It's recommended that they get a comprehensive eye exam every year or as recommended by the doctor.
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