Glaucoma is a serious, progressive eye disease that often doesn’t display any symptoms until it causes permanent vision loss. Fortunately, your optometrist can detect glaucoma before symptoms appear, so you can begin treatment before it progresses and takes your sight. Keep reading to find out how glaucoma is diagnosed and treated.
Your optometrist will check for glaucoma during your comprehensive eye exam. There are five different tests available, and while it’s unlikely your optometrist will use all five, he or she will likely use two or more.
The tonometry test is the most common of the glaucoma tests. You probably think of this as the “air puff test.” Your optometrist will numb your eyes with eye drops and then use a tonometer to push a warm puff of air into your eyes. Then, the optometrist can determine your eye pressure by analyzing the test results.
A dilated eye exam is also common when checking for glaucoma. When your optometrist dilates your eyes, he or she can examine the optic nerve. High eye pressure can damage the optic nerve, so if there are changes to the size or shape, you might have glaucoma.
Perimetry, or visual field test, might also be necessary. Your optometrist will use this test to map your vision, looking for signs of glaucoma-related vision problems.
If your optimist believes you have glaucoma, you might have to undergo a gonioscopy test next. For this test, your optometrist will insert a mirrored contact lens in your eyes. The contact lens allows the optometrist to view the angle where the iris and cornea meet.
Your optometrist also might perform a pachymetry test by placing a pachymeter on the cornea. This tool measures the thickness of the cornea.
If you’ve been diagnosed with glaucoma, you will begin treatment immediately. Treatment will not cure the disease, but it can slow or even stop its progression.
Early-stage glaucoma is typically treated with eye drops that control the intraocular pressure. You will need to take the eye drops as directed, so glaucoma doesn’t progress.
Oral medications can also slow or prevent the progression of glaucoma. Carbonic anhydrase inhibitors work by inhibiting the amount of fluid the eye can produce. Your optimist will go over the side effects with you before prescribing the medication.
Laser surgery is also an option for treating glaucoma. The surgery is used to drain the aqueous fluid in the eye, thus reducing the pressure. If you have open-angle glaucoma, your optometrist will recommend a trabeculoplasty. You will need to undergo an iridotomy if you have angle-closure glaucoma. Both procedures are done in the office on an outpatient basis.
What if your glaucoma has advanced and is causing significant problems? You might be a good candidate for a surgical procedure performed in an operating room. For instance, your ophthalmologist can implant a drainage tube to drain fluid from your eye. Your body absorbs the fluid.
If your eyes haven’t been checked for glaucoma recently, it’s time to make an appointment. Call Eyecare Center of Martin in Martin, Tennessee, at (731) 224-4640 to schedule a comprehensive eye exam.