Glaucoma is a common eye condition in which your optic nerve, the bundle of nerves at the back of the eye that feeds visual information to the brain, is damaged because of high inner eye pressure, known as intraocular pressure. This condition can lead to total permanent blindness in a short amount of time if it is not treated properly. Furthermore, while our eye doctor can test for glaucoma and often treat it, there are usually no noticeable symptoms. You will often hear that patients diagnosed with glaucoma claim that they did not feel or notice anything unusual about their vision at all. So, what can be done to detect glaucoma, and how can you prevent it?
As mentioned before, glaucoma usually shows no symptoms until significant damage has already been done to your eyes. This means that waiting until you already see or feel a difference in your eyes or vision will significantly increase the chances that irreversible damage may already have been done to your vision before glaucoma is detected and treatment is started. Therefore, the most important and effective way to prevent glaucoma is to have a comprehensive eye exam at least once a year, that includes screening and tests for glaucoma, so that signs and risk factors of glaucoma can be identified early.
Recent technological advances in retinal scanning and glaucoma screenings have made earlier and earlier detection of glaucoma possible. This advanced technology allows your eye doctor to measure your inner eye pressure (known as tonometry), inspect the drainage angle of your eye (known as gonioscopy), evaluate your optic nerve (known as ophthalmoscopy) and test the visual field of each eye (known as perimetry). Each of these tests measures for certain indications that allow your eye doctor to detect glaucoma early and begin treatment, such as prescribing special eye drops meant to treat the inner eye pressure that characterizes glaucoma, which are often the first line of defense against glaucoma if these indications present themselves.
Along with regular eye exams to ensure early detection, a number of other steps can be taken to proactively prevent the development of Glaucoma. A regular program of moderate exercise has been proven to benefit your overall health. For instance exercise such as walking or jogging three or more times every week can help lower your intraocular pressure. Eye injuries, such as blunt force trauma, and severe eye infections have also been linked to traumatic glaucoma or secondary glaucoma, so protecting your eyes from injury and keeping them clean of bacteria are also important for preventing glaucoma.
Schedule an appointment for a glaucoma screening with one of our doctors today.