Diagnosing And Treating Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a disease of the eye and one of many reasons you should see your optometrist for annual eye exams. In years past, there were not many tools to diagnose it and even less to treat it. Many glaucoma sufferers went on to suffer vision loss due to the lack of treatment options. Today, with regular optometric examinations, you can be regularly screened for glaucoma. This leads to the early diagnosis and early treatment of glaucoma. Advanced glaucoma can lead to irreversible vision loss. Early treatment makes glaucoma less of a threat than in bygone eras.

What is glaucoma?

Simply put, glaucoma is pressure on the eye. There are two different types of glaucoma. There is open angle glaucoma, which is the bulk of what is seen in North America. It is painless, so without regular eye exams, the only symptom is the eventual vision problems. The other type is close angle glaucoma. This is not seen as frequently in North America, but is more pronounced in other parts of the world. A small amount of close angle glaucoma is present with acute situations, prompting urgent medical care.

How is glaucoma diagnosed?

There are six tests that can be performed to check for glaucoma. Tonometry, ophthalmoscopy, perimetry, gonioscopy, peachy entry and nerve fibre analysis are the names of the tests. These tests are mostly noninvasive. They can include a puff of air directed at the eye, light directed toward the eye, or numbing eye drops. The optometrist uses these to make measurements or closely examine your eyes further.

How is glaucoma treated?

Treatment of glaucoma includes medication and/or eye surgery. When using medication, patient compliance is essential. The medications offered for glaucoma can have side effects. If the side effects aren't tolerable, work with your optometrist to find a medication that works better for you. Follow up visits are important. Taking medication irregularly or not seeing your optometrist for follow up care can lead to irreversible vision damage.

Surgery for glaucoma is both laser and conventional. Unfortunately, glaucoma surgery tends to be only a temporary fix. While medication can control glaucoma and surgery can help, there is as yet no known cure for glaucoma.

Even though there is no cure for glaucoma, the treatments available can certainly keep a glaucoma patient's quality of life from diminishing much. In undeveloped countries, glaucoma often leads to vision loss. Regular screening, coupled with follow up care, surgery, and/or medication compliance will keep you out of the dark.

For more information, contact a clinic like Baldwin Optical & Hearing Aid Co.