IN THIS ARTICLE
Most of the risk factors (such as age, race, and family history) for glaucoma are beyond your control. If you are under age 40 and have no known risk factors, you need to have an eye exam that includes tests for glaucoma every 5 to 10 years.7 These tests may be done by an optometrist or an ophthalmologist. If there is a history of glaucoma in your family or if you have other risk factors for glaucoma, talk with your doctor about having more frequent exams. If you are at increased risk, you need to have regular eye exams by an ophthalmologist.
The success of treatment for glaucoma depends on your learning about the disease, using your medicines as prescribed, and getting routine checkups to monitor the condition and prevent complications. By doing so, you can decrease your chance of losing your eyesight.
Living with reduced vision
Reduced vision from glaucoma can affect a person's life in many ways. How much you will be affected depends on the severity of your vision loss, what kinds of activities you do, and your lifestyle. Work with your doctor to find ways to make the best use of your remaining vision. You can use vision aids such as video enlargement systems and large-print items, develop a support network, and receive counseling and training to help you cope with reduced vision and maintain your quality of life.
Because glaucoma often leads to a significant loss of vision, learning that you have glaucoma can be difficult. You may feel anger or fear, or you may feel saddened and become depressed. These feelings are perfectly normal. If you need help in dealing with them, talk to your doctor and to your family and friends. Your doctor can also refer you to counselors who specialize in helping people adjust to living with low vision. Because glaucoma is a lifelong disease, it may be helpful for you to join a support group for people who have the disease.
For additional information on support groups, products, and services related to glaucoma and living with low vision, see the Other Places to Get Help section of this topic.
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