If you have ever had a slow leak in the roof of your home, you know how destructive it can be if it’s not discovered and fixed quickly. It can slowly create mold and mildew, be a haven for termites, and eventually you have a major problem that’s extremely costly. Hidden problems in your home are hard to detect. The same goes with the hidden problems and signs of glaucoma.
Unfortunately for patients with glaucoma, there are no early warning signs. Years can go by before you notice any symptoms, and many times they are ignored. As with the investment in your home, your valuable eyesight could be in jeopardy if glaucoma is not discovered in time.
What is Glaucoma
Glaucoma is an eye disease which affects your optic nerve. The optic nerve connects the retina to your brain which in turn sends visual signals. If your optic nerve is damaged or destroyed, your vision is damaged as well.
Glaucoma is caused by an increase in pressure inside the eye resulting in a blockage of fluid circulation or drainage. This fluid fills both the front and back chambers of the eye. If the fluid is blocked and cannot drain properly, the pressure in your eye is elevated. This increased intraocular pressure (or IOP) damages the optic nerve and causes permanent vision impairment.
In the early stages of glaucoma, a patient may develop a loss of peripheral vision. This is hard to detect at first because it is so slight and many patients just ignore it. As time passes and glaucoma is left undetected, the symptoms become more pronounced and patients are left with a kind of tunnel vision.
How to Defend Against Glaucoma
Glaucoma silently steals your sight because the symptoms are hidden, and unfortunately the disease can remain undiagnosed for years. Since the vision loss is permanent the next best solution is to prevent its progression. Your best defense is a regular comprehensive eye exam. A dilated eye exam with an eye care specialist is the only way to discover if you are suffering from glaucoma. Eye care professionals like those at Sarnia Eye, Esthetics and LASIK Clinic will perform a group of glaucoma tests.
Along with a 3-dimensional map of your optic nerve, Dr. Patodia can diagnose the amount of damage already done, and monitor its progression as time passes.
Other important tests include:
- Tonometry, to measure the intraocular pressure.
- Pachymetry, to measure the thickness of the cornea.
- Ophthalmoscopy, a dilated exam to examine the optic nerve.
- Gonioscopy, to check the angle of the eye where the iris meets the cornea.
- Perimetry, a test to determine the full field of vision.
None of these tests are painful but all or some combination are necessary. A careful examination of the optic nerve is essential in determining both the diagnosis of glaucoma and the treatment needed.
Who is at Risk for Glaucoma?
According the Glaucoma Research Foundation, everyone is at risk for glaucoma, but some groups have a higher risk. They include:
- Those of African or Asian descent
- Those over 60 years of age
- Thin corneas
- A family history of glaucoma
- Patients with asthma who use steroids
- Previous trauma to the eye
If you are a member of one of these groups or have diabetes or heart disease, schedule a comprehensive eye exam at least every one to two years. It is recommended that once diagnosed a patient should follow the recommendations of their eye doctor to monitor the progression of the disease.
Some Good News about Glaucoma
Right here in Southwestern Ontario you have one of the very few retinal specialists in Dr. Patodia of Sarnia Eye, Aesthetics and LASIK Clinic. He has been at the forefront of diagnostics and advanced treatments for such eye diseases as diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration and glaucoma.
He has the latest technology available not only to diagnose glaucoma but also to manage and treat it. Using the 3-D map of the optic nerve along with the other glaucoma tests, he can determine a baseline that can be compared to future exams.
Early detection is the key to managing this sight threatening eye disease. Protect your eyesight from hidden problems which could irreversibly damage your vision. If you have any risk factors or early warning signs of glaucoma, contact Dr. Patodia and the eye care professionals at Sarnia Eye, Esthetics and LASIK Clinic. Feel free to call us with any questions about glaucoma or any other eye diseases.Leave a reply →