March 31, 2021
There are many different conditions that can affect the health of our eyes and our vision. One condition that many people have heard of is glaucoma. However, most people don’t really understand what glaucoma is.
Glaucoma isn’t actually a single disease, but the name given to a group of conditions, all of which result in increased pressure within the eye. This excess pressure causes damage to the optic nerve, which leads to progressive vision loss, starting with peripheral vision. This damage will continue to get worse until treatment to lower the pressure within the eyes is effective. Unfortunately, any vision that is lost due to glaucoma is permanent and cannot be reversed.
Glaucoma screenings are performed at every eye exam at East Main Vision Clinic. A yearly comprehensive eye exam is the best way to ensure early detection of this serious eye condition, allowing you to start treatment more quickly and avoid a serious impact on your vision.
Types of Glaucoma
There are different types of glaucoma. The two primary forms of glaucoma are known as open-angle and closed-angle. Open-angle is the most common and usually develops very slowly, meaning that symptoms are subtle, and usually, by the time they appear, at least some irreparable damage to your vision will have already occurred. For this reason, Glaucoma is known as the “silent thief of sight.”
Closed-angle glaucoma occurs when fluid quickly builds up within the eye due to a blockage in the eye’s drainage system. The eye pressure rises suddenly, causing severe eye pain, debilitating headaches, blurred vision, and nausea with vomiting. Immediate, emergency treatment is essential to preserve your vision.
Dr. Day, your eye doctor at East Main Vision Clinic, will conduct glaucoma screening during your routine eye exam. This screening serves as information-gathering to determine if your eyes are at high risk for developing glaucoma. If your risk is elevated, due to your screening findings or due to a family history of glaucoma, you may be asked to return for additional testing. This testing uses specialized equipment to measure the pressure, image the optic nerve, and assess your visual field.
An IOP Measurement
This is a test sometimes called “tonometry” and measures the intraocular pressure (IOP) inside the eyes. Although this test can indicate glaucoma, eye pressure can vary during the day so other assessments are also needed.
Visual Field Testing
In patients with glaucoma, it is the peripheral vision that is affected first. We will conduct visual field testing to determine if there are any blind spots in your field of vision.
We use a specialized imaging instrument to examine your retina and optic nerve for damage caused by glaucoma. We monitor these images for changes that can indicate active glaucoma.
Treatment for Glaucoma
There are several different treatments for glaucoma and the type you will be offered will depend on the type of glaucoma you have and the severity of your condition.
Initially, you will probably be offered medicated eye drops to help lower the pressure inside your eyes. If these prove ineffective, or if you are intolerant to the medication, you may be referred for surgery. This normally involves improving the drainage from the eye so that the fluid can flow out more effectively. Surgery may be combined with medication to achieve the best results.
For more information about glaucoma, or if you would like to schedule an appointment, please contact our experienced and knowledgeable eye care specialists at East Main Vision Clinic in Puyallup, Washington at (253) 444- 2800 today!