Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness in the United States. One half of the four million people with glaucoma in the United States are unaware of their condition. For this reason, after your initial comprehensive eye exam, additional glaucoma tests might be done. Glaucoma is damage to the optic nerve inside your eye and is not always associated with an elevated eye pressure.
The risks factors for glaucoma include family history, age, diabetes, race and nearsightedness. Damage to the optic nerve shows itself as blind spots. These blind spots typically go unnoticed. Without early detection from a glaucoma test and early treatment, glaucoma can completely destroy the optic nerve and cause blindness. At Bagan Strinden Vision, we have high tech equipment that can pick up the optic nerve changes of glaucoma up to 5 years before noticeable loss of vision. This allows for early detection and treatment.
Types of glaucoma:
- Chronic open-angle glaucoma is the most common form of the disease. It develops slowly, as normal aging and wear and tear starts to clog the drainage area of the eye.
- Closed-angle glaucoma develops rapidly. It occurs when the iris pushes forward and blocks the entire drainage area of the eye because the iris is too close to the drainage area. A careful slit lamp examination can determine if your eyes are at a high risk for angle closure. If so, a laser iridotomy can eliminate your risk for an attack in the future.
- Contact us or another ophthalmologist immediately if you experience unexplained blurred vision, severe eye pain, headache, rainbow-colored halos around lights or nausea and vomiting. These symptoms are often the same as “the flu” but are different because of the blurred vision and halos.
- Blindness can occur if closed-angle glaucoma is not treated right away.
- Eye drops taken daily increase drainage to lower pressure in the eye. Most glaucoma is controlled by the medication.
- Selective laser trabeculoplasty (SLT) is a highly successfully procedure that lowers eye pressure in patients with open-angle glaucoma.
- YAG laser iridotomies create a hole with open-angle glaucoma
- Trabeculectomy is an outpatient surgery where a new channel for eye drainage is created.
What you can do:
- Get your eyes checked regularly with an exam that includes a glaucoma test.
- Tell us during your exam if you have a family history of glaucoma, are of African descent, have diabetes or are 65 years old or older.
- If you have glaucoma, continue your treatment as directed.
ASK THE DOCTOR:
Q: Why do I need a glaucoma test when I get my eyes checked? That puff of air always makes me flinch.
A: One accurate measurement of your eye pressure does not use a puff of air. Glaucoma is a disease without symptoms and is slowly progressive. Glaucoma needs early diagnosis and treatment to prevent blindness. It is the third leading cause of blindness and half of the people in the US with glaucoma do not know it. We have the latest technology to pick up glaucoma at its earliest stages.