Glaucoma is one of the most notorious eye diseases out there. That’s why it earned the nickname, “The Silent Thief of Sight”. Here’s why.
Glaucoma is a disease that damages your optic nerve. Your optic nerve sends the information detected by your eye to your brain. Although the optic nerve is made up of a thick and tough tissue, when damaged it’s not repairable.
Glaucoma is generally associated with high eye pressure. This pressure in the eye presses on the optic nerve harder and harder as it builds up, taking away vision.
The classic form of glaucoma is open-angle glaucoma, in which the build up of pressure is slow and gradual. This occurs when the interior drainage system is not draining as fast as fluid is entering.
Another more dangerous, form of glaucoma is known as closed-angle glaucoma. This occurs when that drainage system becomes blocked. This leaves no room for any fluid to escape.
This rare form of glaucoma causes vision loss to be much more rapid. Symptoms include headaches, severe pain, and blurriness.
In rare cases, glaucoma can occur without an increase in intraocular pressure. This form is normal tension glaucoma. This may happen because the patient’s optic nerve is more fragile than normal. As a result, even normal eye pressure is too much.
Glaucoma has no noticeable symptoms, except vision loss. Again, when you lose sight from glaucoma, there’s no getting it back.
Glaucoma can be tested for with a method called tonometry. Tonometry tests for abnormal eye pressure. There are two versions of tonometry: applanation tonometry and no contact tonometry.
Applanation tonometry numbs the eye and then uses an instrument to press into the cornea. This tests to see how much pressure will flatten the cornea. This type of tonometry is more involved, so it is not as popular as no contact tonometry.
No contact tonometry is the classic “puff of air” test that people dread so much during eye exams. This test involves blowing a concentrated puff of air into the patient’s eye. No contact tonometry is harmless, but it can be startling.
Since glaucoma has no noticeable symptoms, it is important to be proactive in your eye care. Schedule an annual check up with Vision Care of Maine in Bangor!
Not only is the damage done by glaucoma permanent, but the disease never goes away. Though it can’t fully be cured, glaucoma is manageable.
Treatment usually comes in the form of eye drops, though some people may prefer or need to use pills. In either case, the medication lowers eye pressure.
This is accomplished through slowing down production of fluid or relaxing eye muscles. For best results, both medications may get combined and taken together.