Glaucoma is a condition in which the fluid in the eye does not flow normally resulting in high pressure inside the eye. When pressure rises inside the eye, optic nerve damage and permanent blindness may result if the high pressure is not controlled.
A family history of glaucoma or having high blood pressure or high blood sugar may leave you at a higher risk for developing glaucoma and should be watched very closely with annual exams.
Are there any symptoms?
In the early stages of the disease there are no signs or symptoms. Only during your yearly eye health exam with full dilation can we detect glaucoma when we take a look at your eye pressures and the condition of the optic nerve. If we suspect glaucoma, we will order further tests which will include a visual field test to determine if there has been any subtle loss of peripheral vision. At Key-Whitman we’ll also take a look at your nerve fiber layer with a special machine called an OCT. The OCT stands for Optical Coherence Tomography and we use it to precisely capture an image of the optic nerve and surrounding nerve fibers. Similar to an ultrasound, the OCT measures the reflection of infrared light, not sound, which is reflected uniquely by different tissues. This test can help detect glaucoma much sooner than other traditional methods.
How is glaucoma treated?
Glaucoma is incurable, but it can be treated with medication or surgery. Work is now being performed which may one day detect glaucoma during a comprehensive eye exam before any symptoms or damage is present. The glaucoma specialists at Key-Whitman Eye Center agree that early detection of glaucoma is vital to slow the progress of the disease. In addition to medication therapy, our glaucoma specialists may also use Selective Laser Trabeculectomy (SLT) and other surgical treatments to lower eye pressure and work to arrest the permanent damage due to glaucoma.
Watch our informative video on Glaucoma below.
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