Researchers look for ways to diagnose Glaucoma earlier


October 7, 2011

Researchers look for ways to diagnose Glaucoma earlierGlaucoma is an irreversible condition that causes a person to go blind. It is the third leading cause of blindness in the world, and the leading cause of it in the U.S. However, there is currently little time for a person to undergo treatments and few options to curb its progression before it's too late.

To combat this, researchers from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey recently conducted a study to see if there are any risk factors doctors should be aware of that may trigger glaucoma.

Published in the International Journal of Medical Engineering and Informatics, scientists examined the medical records and spoke with 400 participants who had either subtle or severe vision problems.

From the test, they found that age and being a smoker seemed to promote a thinning of the neuroretinal rim and the cup to disk ratio, which is a measure of the restriction of the optic nerve in the back of the eye – both of which have been linked to the disease. Family history, medical history, current medications and geographic location are other concerns that doctors should consider if a patient complains of eye problems.

Even if a senior hasn't been diagnosed with glaucoma, they are at a higher risk of falls in general. Caregivers who are worried about their parents aging in place may want to install a medical alert system in their home. This allows them to stay independent, while giving adult children assurance that their loved ones can call for help in an emergency.