Glaucoma is an eye disease of the optic nerve. The optic nerve acts like a cable that connects the light that comes into the eyes to the brain where it is processed which then allows us to “see.” It can occur when the natural fluid that is in the eye cannot drain properly. This causes an increase of pressure inside the eye that travels back to the optic nerve and causes permanent damage. If left untreated, this can lead to blindness. This disease is the second leading cause of blindness around the world.
How can I tell if I have Glaucoma?
Unfortunately, there are no symptoms that you will experience with Glaucoma. There is no pain, redness, blurry vision or other symptoms that would let you know you have the disease. That is why it is commonly called the “sneaky thief of sight.” At your yearly eye exam your doctor will check for Glaucoma.
How do you test for Glaucoma?
There are many different tests that can be run to determine if you have Glaucoma. The first step in a glaucoma work up is a complete eye exam where your eye pressure and optic nerve heads can be fully assessed and measured. Once the glaucoma diagnosis is made further testing includes an extensive peripheral vision test, scans of the nerve fiber layer to measure the thickness of the tissue surrounding the nerve, checking the drainage structure system to make sure it is open and not clogged and taking retinal photographs of the optic nerve to assess for damage.
How do you treat Glaucoma?
There are a few different ways in which Glaucoma is treated. The most common way is to put drops in your eyes that lower the pressure in the eye by either reducing the amount of fluid in the eye or to help improve the outflow of that fluid. There are also surgical options that include laser treatments or filters to lower your eye pressure. There are now also intraocular implants that can be inserted into the eye to allow reduction of eye pressure.
Is there any way to prevent Glaucoma from happening to me?
There is no way to prevent Glaucoma, but there are ways to limit the damage it does to your vision. The best way to prevent Glaucoma from causing damage to your eyes is to have regular annual eye exams. If Glaucoma is diagnosed and treated early it can prevent vision loss and possible blindness. To assess your risk of Glaucoma or to speak with an eye care specialist, call 860-233-2020 to schedule an exam today!