The World Health Organization identifies glaucoma as the second leading cause of blindness worldwide. But the condition is manageable with early detection. At first, you may lose your peripheral vision. This will eventually lead to the narrowing of your central vision. If not treated, vision-related problems associated with glaucoma will continue to get worse. Patients may lose their sight altogether. Here’s what you need to know when diagnosing glaucoma.
You need to visit your eye doctor to screen for glaucoma. They will diagnose this progressive disease through a comprehensive eye examination. According to the American Optometric Association, glaucoma testing generally includes:
This is to identify any symptoms you may be experiencing. It’s also the time when your doctor checks for other contributing factors. These include your family history and any general health problems.
These are to determine if your vision is being affected.
This test aims to measure eye pressure. This helps your doctor identify your risk factor for the condition.
This is to measure the thickness of your cornea. Patients with thinner cornea tend to be at a higher risk of developing the disease.
This is also known as perimetry. It intends to check if your peripheral and central visual fields have been affected by the disease.
Your eye doctor will also examine the retina and monitor any changes over time. Photographs or scans of the optic nerve are often taken for assessment.
Additional procedures may be performed to screen for glaucoma. These include gonioscopy, which helps your eye doctor check if there’s fluid drainage. Another possible test is serial tonometry. It’s designed to acquire pressure measurements in your eye to look for changes throughout the day. Your eye doctor will also likely use special devices for nerve fiber thickness measurement and tissue loss on the nerve fiber layer.
There’s no cure for glaucoma. If you have been diagnosed with this disease, you will have to continue care and treatment for the rest of your life. It will not go away on its own. What your eye doctor can do is control and manage it. The goal is to prevent the existing damage from becoming worse while maximizing what’s left of your vision. A combination of prescription eye drops, medications, and surgical procedures are pretty standard. Also, glaucoma can progress or worsen without warning. You must comply with your prescription drugs and undergo regular eye exams. Your treatment plan may require periodic adjustments.
One way to slow down or halt the continued vision loss is by keeping your eye pressure under control. Your treatment program may focus on lowering the eye pressure to the point that it’s least likely going to cause any further optic nerve damage. Another way to prevent more eye damage is to avoid behaviors that may increase eye pressure. Eye pressure tends to increase when you cough or sneeze. So, prevent infection and avoid people who are sick. Whenever possible, don’t wear tight clothing around your neck or chest. Also, try not to strain during a bowel movement. Pushing or lifting any object heavier than five pounds should also be skipped. Avoid engaging in strenuous activities too.
Learn more about diagnosing and care for glaucoma, contact Trinity Eye Care in Plano, TX at (972) 895-9260 to make an appointment.