The World Health Organization ranks glaucoma as the second-leading cause of blindness in the world (behind cataract), with over 12% of all blindness attributed to this group of diseases known collectively as glaucoma.
Glaucoma causes gradual destruction of the optic nerve, which is the nerve tht carries vision from your eye to your brain. Think of it as a really fantastic USB cable!
When Does Glaucoma Occur?
Glaucoma occurs when the pressure in the eyes is high enough to damage the individual fibers that make up the optic nerve. As these individual fibers are damaged, there are no symptoms of pain, redness, or blurry vision. Untreated, glaucoma will eventually lead to loss of peripheral vision, also called “tunnel vision,” and then potentially blindness. At least half of the people who have glaucoma do not know that they have it.
How to Diagnose Glaucoma
To diagnose glaucoma, our doctors perform a comprehensive examination including pupil dilation, eye pressures, visual field testing, corneal thickness measurements, and retinal photography. These tests are almost always performed over multiple visits. This enables us to get a better sense of the range of eye pressure throughout the day. Newer technologies that we utilize here at Triangle Visions, evaluate the relationship between the optic nerve and the surrounding retina, often enabling us to “catch” glaucoma earlier on.
Can You Prevent Glaucoma?
There is no way to prevent glaucoma. It is often more prevalent within genetics, and in African-Americans; it’s definitely more likely to get the older we get. The key to preserving vision if glaucoma is present is early detection! The sooner we find it, and the better you are at following the treatment plan, the greater the likelihood of preserving vision. The first line of treatment is to use eye drops to lower the eye pressure. Occasionally, surgery is also needed. Unfortunately, any vision loss to glaucoma is usually lost forever. Early detection and treatment are paramount! This disease can be controlled when we catch it early enough, reducing the chances of permanent vision loss.
We’re Here to Help
We have been active in glaucoma diagnosis and treatment for nearly 40 years. We evaluate the risk of this disease during every eye examination. We have all of the technology, all of the education, and all of the treatments to help insure your vision against what’s commonly called the “sneak thief of sight.” If you have any questions or concerns about your personal risks of glaucoma, we’ll address those at your annual eye examination.