What is Glaucoma exactly?
It's often associated with a buildup of pressure inside the eye. Glaucoma tends to be inherited and you should get yourself checked if others in your family have been diagnosed with this disorder. Over time, glaucoma will cause permanent loss of vision and without treatment, glaucoma can cause total permanent blindness within a few years.
Are you at high risk for Glaucoma?
- If you are over the age of 40 and if you have a family history of glaucoma.
- GRF recommends that African-Americans get a thorough check for glaucoma every one to two years after age 35.
- Talk to family members about glaucoma. If family members have glaucoma, then your glaucoma risk is increased.
- If you have diabetes or high blood pressure.
- Hispanic Americans in older age groups are also at greater risk for glaucoma.
- Steroid Users - adults who require approximately 14 to 35 puffs of steroid inhaler to control asthma have an increased incidence of glaucoma.
- Eye Injury - Injury to the eye may cause secondary open-angle glaucoma. This type of glaucoma can occur immediately after the injury or years later.
Maybe you need a Glaucoma Test?
What is a Glaucoma test? Glaucoma testing involves measuring internal eye pressure and a detailed scan of the retina for signs of disease.
- Only a comprehensive eye exam can reveal whether or not you have glaucoma.
- Increased pressure inside the eye is often a key indicator of glaucoma, though not exclusively so.
- Eye doctors can use a number of tests for eye pressure but will, by default, check for signs of glaucoma as part of a detailed exam
- An examination of the retina—the light sensitive area at the back of the eye responsible for processing images is only the true way you will know you have Glaucoma.
How Does Glaucoma Testing Work?
There are two types of Glaucoma tests that measure the internal pressure of the eye but one is much more accurate than the other.
Q: What is Glaucoma?
Dr. Altig: Glaucoma is the fluid in your eye that keeps the eye in a ball shape. the body either starts to manufacture too much of the fluid, or the drainage mechanism for the fluid (since the body is constantly manufacturing this fluid and draining it) can get clogged up. This will cause an increase in pressure, this pressure then cuts off the blood supply to the nerves of the eye. Then the nerves atrophy and die from lack of blood supply. When the nerves die out, the person will slowly lose their vision and go blind.
Q: Is There Prevention for Glaucoma?
Dr. Altig: You may think, “What can I do to prevent myself from getting glaucoma?”
I am sorry to say, there is no prevention for glaucoma. Regular and thorough comprehensive eye exams are essential in detection of the early stages of glaucoma. Every female over 30 years old should have yearly eye exams, and every male over 40 years old should have yearly eye exams. In every comprehensive eye exam, we do, we check for glaucoma. Vision insurance always covers the screening for glaucoma, but if glaucoma is detected, the treatment will then be covered by medical insurance, not the vision insurance.
Q: What Are My Treatment Options for Glaucoma?
Dr. Altig: There are several treatments available for glaucoma today. The vast majority of the treatments are eye drops. They will help to decrease the fluid manufactured by the eye, so the pressure in the eye does not rise. Some drops are used to increase the drainage in the eye, if the drainage mechanism of the eye is the cause of the glaucoma. If the drops are not effective, there are also ways of surgically increasing the drainage of the eye.
If the drops done work enough, pills may be given along with the eye drops. They also help to lessen the overproduction of fluid, taken usually two to four times a day. If you are prescribed pills, make sure to inform all of your doctors so if they need to prescribe medications to you, it will not cause any harmful interactions.
Laser surgery is also an option, as an intermediate step, however results from the laser surgery are variable. Your eye doctor will discuss with you to see which treatment options are best for your type of glaucoma.v
Special thanks to the EyeGlass Guide for informational material that aided in the creation of this website. Visit the EyeGlass Guide today!
Dr. Altig, your Fort Worth optometrist, will check for signs of macular degeneration as part of your comprehensive eye exam!