Is Your Senior Parent Dealing With Glaucoma? How To Tell  

You care about keeping your parents healthy, and a key part of that is ensuring that their vision is as clear as possible. Knowing the warning signs of age-related vision conditions is a key part of helping your parents to see clearly for as long as possible.

Glaucoma is fairly common – it’s estimated that up to three million Americans have glaucoma, but only about half of them know that they’re suffering from this degenerative condition. Glaucoma actually refers to a group of conditions cause a buildup of pressure in the eye, negatively affecting the optic nerve. In the vast majority of cases, glaucoma sets in gradually, and symptoms tend to get worse over time.

Let’s take a look at some of the warning signs that could indicate that your parent may be suffering from glaucoma.

  • Loss of peripheral vision – If you notice that your parent has to completely turn their head to see things they’d normally be able to see in their peripheral vision, it’s a sign that they may be suffering from the early stages of glaucoma.
  • Tunnel vision – When the loss of peripheral vision gets worse, it can progress to tunnel vision. When your parent suffers from tunnel vision, not only does their peripheral vision deteriorate – they’ll also struggle to see objects above and below their direct, forward line of vision (as if they’re looking through a narrow tube).
  • Depression – If you notice a negative change in your parent’s mood, there’s a chance that glaucoma could be to blame. While there are many different issues that can cause depression, a change in vision may be to blame. If your parent’s mood has changed significantly, be sure to schedule an appointment with their primary care physician, as well as their optometrist.

In addition to watching for these warning signs, you’ll want to consider if your parent is a part of certain demographic groups that are more likely to have glaucoma. People who are over the age of 60 account for most cases of glaucoma. While both men and women can develop glaucoma, the condition is more common in women. African-American and Hispanic/ Latino people are more likely to develop glaucoma than people of other races, and people in these groups are also likely to experience glaucoma earlier in life (as early as age 40). If you think that your parent may be developing glaucoma, be sure to schedule them an appointment with their eye care professional right away. There are many treatment options that can ease the symptoms of glaucoma, helping your parent see more clearly for a longer period of time.