What is Glaucoma?
There are nearly 3 million people in the United States who are affected by this progressively blinding disease. Glaucoma is most often painless, though there are a few forms of glaucoma that are painful. Early detection using advanced diagnostics is key in preventing the progression of the disease.
Glaucoma is defined as a group of diseases that damage the optic nerve. The optic nerve is responsible for transmitting the images our eye receives to the perceptive parts in visual cortex (posterior brain). There are many forms of glaucoma and glaucoma can affect a person at any age.
How do we diagnose glaucoma?
Many patients refer to the “air puff test” (non-contact tonometry) as the glaucoma test. This test we do right in the office measures intraocular eye pressure, which is a key factor for many, but not all, forms of glaucoma. Normal Tension Glaucoma (glaucoma with normal eye pressure) has a high prevalence and will go unchecked if retinal evaluations are not performed consistently. Other types of glaucoma are possible, but early detection and treatment are critical. Family history plays a role, so be sure to ask relatives.
Can glaucoma be reversed? At this time scientists have not yet found a way to reverse glaucoma damage. Current treatments are aimed at early detection and prevention of vision loss. The earlier disease changes are found, the better the steps can be taken to preserve the vision you have for the rest of your life.