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NewsLetter Basic Information For Glaucoma

Basic Information About Glaucoma

A glaucoma is a group of eye diseases in which the normal fluid pressure inside the eyes slowly rises, leading to vision loss or even blindness. Open-angle glaucoma is the most common form of the disease.

What causes glaucoma?

Clear fluid flows in and out of a small space at the front of the eye called the anterior chamber. This fluid bathes and nourishes nearby tissues. If this fluid drains too slowly, pressure builds up and damages the optic nerve. Though this buildup may lead to an increase in eye pressure, the effect of pressure on the optic nerve differs from person to person. Some people may get optic nerve damage at low-pressure levels while others tolerate higher pressure levels.

Who is most likely to get glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness in the United States. Although anyone can get glaucoma, the following people are at higher risk:

  • African Americans over age 40
  • Everyone over age 60, especially Mexican Americans
  • People with a family history of glaucoma

What are the symptoms?

At first, there are no symptoms. Vision stays normal, and there is no pain.

However, as the disease progresses, a person with glaucoma may notice his or her side vision gradually failing. That is, objects in front may still be seen clearly, but objects on the side may be missed. As the disease worsens, the field of vision narrows, and blindness results.

How is glaucoma detected?

Many people may know of the "air puff" test or other tests used to measure eye pressure in an eye examination. But this test alone cannot detect glaucoma. Glaucoma is found most often during an eye examination through dilated pupils. Dilating pupils involves putting drops into the eyes during the exam to enlarge the pupils. This procedure allows the eye care professional to see more of the inside of the eye to check for signs of glaucoma.

National Institutes of Health, National Eye Institute. (n.d.). Glaucoma FAQs. Retrieved December 7, 2016, from

Disclaimer: This document is intended for general information only. It does not provide the reader with specific direction, advice, or recommendations. You may wish to contact an appropriate professional for questions concerning your particular situation.

Water Workouts

Water Workouts: A Gentle and Challenging Fitness Option

Fitness Instructor Julie See explains why aquatic exercise can help people feel fit and healthy.

Over the years, aquatic exercise has acquired a reputation as a wimpy workout for inactive people. But practically every land-based exercise can be adapted to water (with some obvious exceptions, such as inline skating and skateboarding). At many health clubs, step aerobics, spinning (riding a land-based bicycle), yoga, and tai chi classes are all taught in a pool as well as a gym. Whether the class is a gentle version of water aerobics or an intense kickboxing session, you'll feel the workout the next day.

For older people and those just starting fitness programs, water exercise offers two main benefits:

  • Buoyancy, making exercise easier on the joints
  • Resistance, which allows you to build muscle strength faster

Water exercise is especially well suited to

  • Senior citizens
  • People who don't exercise regularly
  • People with arthritis, osteoporosis, or other joint problems
  • People recovering from medical conditions
  • Pregnant women
  • People who are self-conscious about their bodies

While most people can benefit from water exercise, people with certain health conditions shouldn't try it. These include people with bowel or bladder incontinence, open sores, uncontrollable seizures, severe osteoporosis, or difficulty breathing. To be sure, ask your doctor.

Why Seniors Flock to Water Aerobics

Every Wednesday morning, Julie See teaches a water exercise class in Sarasota, Florida. About 25 people, ranging in age from their 60s to 80s, attend faithfully, working out to the sounds of big band music. The class is 75% women. Most of the participants take water aerobics classes three to five times a week and credit it with keeping them limber and healthy.

They say they love it. They keep coming back. Their loyalty can be attributed to the physical payoffs as well as the social interaction. Plus, the water temperature in the pool is about 83°F, so it's comfortable, allowing them to warm up quickly but not overheat.

Many people in her class have some type of health condition and started water exercise based on a doctor's recommendation. For those with arthritis or osteoporosis, the buoyancy and warmth of the water relieve pain and stiffness and stimulate blood circulation, relaxing their muscles and joints. Even if you don't have stiff joints, exercising in the water builds muscle and strength, which can help prevent problems associated with osteoporosis.

If you're recovering from a medical condition, such as a heart attack or stroke, water aerobics is an easy and safe way to get back into the habit of exercising regularly.

Many people are intimidated when they begin exercise programs, but being in the water means no one can see you. If you feel uncomfortable about your body or you're worried about keeping up with the instructor, you're safe beneath the water line. No one can tell if you've fallen behind or what you look like.

Getting Started

Before taking the plunge, get an okay from your doctor or health care provider. It's also a good idea to sit in on a few water aerobics classes before joining to help learn the exercises. If you are older, try calling your local YMCA or YWCA or community fitness center to find out about programs tailored to seniors.

Look for a class that matches your ability. People of all ages can learn to swim, so don't let that deter you. Keep in mind that knowing how to swim isn't required for all water exercise classes. Some older people prefer to join a class specifically for seniors. If this is the case for you, be sure the class is geared toward people of your age and interests. Also, make sure that the instructor is experienced in teaching water exercises and has training in basic first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

Other Factors You Might Want to Consider

  • Time and Days of Classes: The more convenient the class, the more likely you'll stick with the program.
  • Recruiting Friends: Joining with a friend or two might entice you to attend all classes.
  • Water Temperature: It's typically best to exercise in water that's 82-86°F unless you have a medical condition that warrants otherwise.

Use your common sense. Always check the water depth before jumping in. Jumping or diving into shallow water can cause serious injuries. Begin your exercises with a few repetitions for a few minutes and slowly work up to longer workouts. Remember to breathe deeply and regularly throughout your exercises and take time to cool down after.

Aquatic Workouts

Water exercises can be as arduous as you want them to be.

Swimming laps, water walking, and water aerobics are a few basic water workouts. If you want to be more creative, try deepwater running or deepwater aerobics, both of which require participants to wear flotation devices. Some fitness centers are investing in new equipment, such as bicycles that work in the water, so they can offer aquatic spinning classes.

Try these water exercises to help you get started:

  • Jumping jacks promote cardiovascular health. In chest-high water, stand with your legs together and arms at your side. Do jumping jacks, moving your legs apart and raising your arms to the water's surface. Do about 16 repetitions at a time.
  • Walking in water builds endurance and promotes blood flow. In waist- or chest-high water, walk briskly. For a change, try walking backward and laterally with a sidestepping motion. For a great workout, try walking in the water for 20 to 40 minutes, varying your stride and walking forward, backward, and laterally. Water walking is simple, but challenging. Because water is much more resistant than air, walking in the water helps maintain or build muscle mass in your legs faster, without the impact on your joints that comes with walking on land.

In addition to the cardiovascular and strength-training improvements, people often report subtler benefits when they exercise in the water. Water exercises promote relaxation by providing a gentle massage for your muscles. Water exercises also improve sensory awareness—water touching your skin will help develop your kinesthetic sense, or awareness of movements. Also, the pressure that water exerts on the body helps blood flow.

Last, but not least, aquatic exercise is inexpensive. You don't need fancy equipment: just a swimsuit, towel, and access to a pool.

Don't be shy about investigating water aerobics. To meet the demand, many community and recreational pools offer classes. You can also visit for more information about water exercise.

About the Author

Julie See is president of the Aquatic Exercise Association and executive vice president of Personal Body Trainers. She's been involved in the fitness industry for more than 20 years. She cowrote Aqua Aerobics: A Scientific Approach and has contributed to numerous fitness publications. See's also produced more than 20 videos on aquatic fitness.

See, J. (Reviewed 2018). Water workouts. Raleigh, NC: Workplace Options.

Disclaimer: This document is intended for general information only. It does not provide the reader with specific direction, advice, or recommendations. You may wish to contact an appropriate professional for questions concerning your particular situation.

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Talking to Tweens About Sexuality

It's kind of an amazing transformation. And it inevitably happens overnight. One day your little girl is running around in her brother's used jeans, and the next she's a 9-year-old who's lecturing you about the latest fashions and makeup trends. Or maybe it's your girl-hating son suddenly talking about the girl in his 6th grade class he's "going with." You may have expected this when your kids turned into teenagers. But before middle school? Well, you're not alone. Parents all across the country are scratching their heads and wondering what's going on. As a matter of fact, the phenomenon of 'tweens acting and dressing—and spending money—to be just like the 20-something sex-symbols they see on TV has been given a name in advertising and marketing circles: KGOY, or Kids Getting Older Younger. So what's a parent of a too-old-for-lecturing kid to do? Most experts all have the same advice: rather than pretending it's not happening, talk about it with your children and come up with solutions together.

When is too early?

It's never too early to talk to your kids about what sexuality is, and all that it involves. The common wisdom is that kids are ready to start learning as soon as they start asking questions; this is usually well before the time they are in kindergarten. Parenting authors also agree that that the topic of sexuality—whether it's information about how our bodies work, our genders, our sexual orientation, or our values—should never be off-limits at home. If children grow up understanding that their sexuality as a whole is not something "dirty" but an important part of who they are, they will be more prepared to ask you the sensitive questions about sex when the time comes. Because as kids reach those 'tween years, their peer group becomes more and more important to them. And as awkward as it might be, wouldn't you rather your children trust you and not turn to their friends or the media for misinformation?

The fact is that sexual development of girls starts around age 9. Although the average age of menstruation in the U.S. is 12, many girls today begin as early as 8 years old. Boys generally start going through puberty between the ages of 10 and 12; puberty is a process which lasts from 2-5 years. During these years and even before, both boys and girls will be noticing changes in their bodies and feelings, and needing a safe place to be assured that, yes, it's all completely normal.

By the age of 12, most kids are ready for the facts about sex and reproduction. They need to know about sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), the consequences of teen pregnancy, and, depending upon your beliefs, details on different types of birth control or choosing abstinence. Study after study has shown that getting information does not make children more sexually active. As a matter of fact, it's likely to have the opposite effect.

How can I approach the subject?

It's very easy for parents to tell themselves, "We'll get into it when the right moment comes along..." But especially if you managed to gloss over the subject of sexuality when your kids were small, that perfect opportunity is unlikely to present itself.

Instead of one all-inclusive "birds-and-bees" sit-down, think about raising the topic whenever there's an opening. Keep things short and chatty, and try to be curious, not judgmental. Always connect sexuality with personal values. While watching TV, look at the teen characters and their choices: do the programs deal with all of the issues and possible consequences of an action? While you're in the car and the radio's on, listen to song lyrics: how do you feel about the messages you each hear? Discuss news articles and share short stories with your child. Choose a book on sexuality you find appropriate. Make sure your son or daughter knows where to find it, and that you're open to talking about what's in it.

Also, pay close attention to questions and concerns from your 'tween about "someone at school" or "a friend you don't know"; respecting the need for anonymity and privacy will encourage your child to see you as a good source of information. Using humor is another non-threatening way to make everyone feel more at ease. The truth is that you all may be a bit uncomfortable talking about sexuality, especially at first. But your 'tween will probably appreciate hearing, "I need to learn how to feel comfortable talking about this. My parents never talked about these things to me."

No matter how old your kids are, it's never too late to start talking, either. Visit your local library or bookstore, or search for a Web site that has more of the kind of information you need to feel confident about these conversations.

How much is too much?

Whether it's giving your 'tween information, independence or responsibility, you as a parent are the best judge of when to step in and where to draw the lines. Today, many parents find themselves in a real bind when they come up against fashions and trends-it seems as if kids are being pushed to act like adults before they realize what their actions might mean to someone else.

Every mall in America showcases revealing clothing and styles for young women that are provocative, to say the least. So it's natural that girls in grade-school want the glitter make-up, body jewelry and lingerie they see modeled by their favorite pop stars. "Everyone's wearing it!" is a familiar refrain. What young girls may not be aware of, however, is the overtly sexualized messages they're really sending.

Boys aren't immune to the pressure of conforming, either. It's not uncommon for young boys to talk big about girls, even though preadolescent relationships are rarely cause for concern. Early romances do provide a great opportunity for parents to talk about the importance of values, respect and self-esteem in any relationship. And also to examine the damage negative remarks about women can cause.

When coming up with rules about "grown-up" fashions for girls, as well as acceptable social behavior for 'tween boys and girls, consider the following tips:

  • Don't overreact or make threats. Ask your son about his girlfriend, and get to know his friends. If your daughter wants to buy a low-cut blouse, don't rush to judgment or "Never in my house!"
  • Find their motivation. 'Tweens are at an awkward age, and usually make choices to "fit in" and be like someone, or everyone, else. If they've got a role model, discuss that image. Perhaps you can agree upon another example, someone worth the respect.
  • Be clear about your reasons. If you feel a certain style is inappropriate, make sure your child knows why. If it's because you feel it's sending the wrong message, be careful that your concerns are spelled out and not taken as a personal insult.
  • Come up with rules together. Sit down with your child and decide upon rules and limitations you can both live with, including consequences if the rules are broken. Be prepared to follow through!
  • Tell your kids it's OK to be a kid. Share stories of your own insecurities and experiences as a child, and keep yourself from using "Oh, you look so grown-up!" as a compliment.
  • As time goes by, reexamine rules. Things do change. Look at the guidelines you've set as you're your child matures, and make sure you're still on a reasonable track.

As in so many areas of parenting, being open and honest about these tricky issues will go a long way toward helping your not-so-little children develop a healthy attitude about human sexuality.

Webb, J. (Reviewed 2018). Talking to 'tweens about sexuality. Raleigh, NC: Workplace Options.

Disclaimer: This document is intended for general information only. It does not provide the reader with specific direction, advice, or recommendations. You may wish to contact an appropriate professional for questions concerning your particular situation.

Positive Parenting Tips: Teens

The following sections offer positive parenting tips for teens.

Young Teenagers (12–14 years)

Developmental Milestones

This is a time of many physical, mental, emotional, and social changes. Hormones change as puberty begins. Most boys grow facial and pubic hair and their voices deepen. Most girls grow pubic hair and breasts and start their period. They might be worried about these changes and how they are looked at by others. This also will be a time when they might face peer pressure to use alcohol, tobacco products, and drugs, and to have sex. Other challenges can be eating disorders, depression, and family problems. At this age, teens make more of their own choices about friends, sports, studying, and school. They become more independent, with their own personality and interests, although parents are still very important.

Here is some information on how young teens develop:

Emotional/Social ChangesThinking and Learning
Children in this age group might
  • Show more concern about body image, looks, and clothes
  • Focus on themselves, going back and forth between high expectations and lack of confidence
  • Experience more moodiness
  • Show more interest in and influence by peer groups
  • Express less affection toward parents; sometimes might seem rude or short-tempered
  • Feel stress from more challenging schoolwork
  • Develop eating problems
  • Feel a lot of sadness or depression, which can lead to poor grades at school, alcohol or drug use, unsafe sex, and other problems
Children in this age group might
  • Gain more ability for complex thought
  • Be better able to express feelings through talking
  • Develop a stronger sense of right and wrong

Positive Parenting Tips

The following are some things you, as a parent, can do to help your child during this time:

  • Be honest and direct with your teenager when talking about sensitive subjects, such as drugs, drinking, smoking, and sex.
  • Meet and get to know their friends.
  • Show an interest in your teen's school life.
  • Help them make healthy choices while encouraging them to make their own decisions.
  • Respect your teen's opinions, and take into account their thoughts and feelings. It is important that they know you are listening.
  • When there is a conflict, be clear about goals and expectations (like getting good grades, keeping things clean, and showing respect), but allow them input on how to reach those goals (like when and how to study or clean).

Teenagers (15–17 years)

Developmental Milestones

This is a time of changes for how teenagers think, feel, and interact with others, and how their bodies grow. Most girls will be physically mature by now, and most will have completed puberty. Boys might still be maturing physically during this time. Your teen might have concerns about body size, shape, or weight. Eating disorders also can be common, especially among girls. During this time, they are developing their unique personality and opinions. Relationships with friends are still important, yet your teen will have other interests as they develop a clearer sense of who they are. This is also an important time to prepare for more independence and responsibility; many teenagers start working, and many will be leaving home soon after high school.

Here is some information on how teens develop:

Emotional/Social ChangesThinking and Learning
Children in this age group might
  • Develop more interest in romantic relationships and sexuality
  • Go through less conflict with parents
  • Show more independence from parents
  • Gain a deeper capacity for caring and sharing and for developing more intimate relationships
  • Spend less time with parents and more time with friends
  • Feel a lot of sadness or depression, which can lead to poor grades at school, alcohol or drug use, unsafe sex, and other problems
Children in this age group might
  • Learn more defined work habits
  • Show more concern about future school and work plans
  • Be better able to give reasons for their own choices, including about what is right or wrong

Positive Parenting Tips

The following are some things you, as a parent, can do to help your teen during this time:

  • Talk with your teen about their concerns, and pay attention to any changes in their behavior. Ask if they have had suicidal thoughts, particularly if they seem sad or depressed. Asking about suicidal thoughts will not cause them to have these thoughts, but it will let them know that you care about how they feel. Seek professional help if necessary.
  • Show interest in school and extracurricular interests and activities, and encourage them to become involved in activities, such as sports, music, theater, and art.
  • Encourage them to volunteer and become involved in civic activities in the community.
  • Compliment your teen, and celebrate efforts and accomplishments.
  • Show affection. Spend time together doing things you enjoy.
  • Respect their opinions. Listen without playing down their concerns.
  • Encourage your teenager to develop solutions to problems or conflicts. Help them learn to make good decisions. Create opportunities for them to use their own judgment, and be available for advice and support.
  • If they engage in interactive, internet media, such as games, chat rooms, and instant messaging, encourage them to make good decisions about what they post and the amount of time spent on these activities.
  • If your teen works, use the opportunity to talk about expectations, responsibilities, and other ways of behaving respectfully in a public setting.
  • Talk with and help them plan ahead for difficult or uncomfortable situations. Discuss what they can do if they are in a group and someone is using drugs or under pressure to have sex, or is offered a ride by someone who has been drinking.
  • Respect your teen's need for privacy.
  • Encourage them to get enough sleep and exercise, and to eat healthy, balanced meals.

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