Glaucoma is a group of eye conditions that damage the optic nerve, the health of which is vital for good vision. This damage is often caused, but not always, by an abnormally high pressure in your eye. The eye pressure increases when either too much fluid is produced in the eye or the drainage or outflow channels (trabecular meshwork) of the eye become blocked.
Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness for people over the age of 60. It can occur at any age but is more common in older adults. Many forms of glaucoma have no warning signs. The effect is so gradual that you may not notice a change in vision until the condition is at an advanced stage.
Once this damage occurs, it cannot be reversed. Therefore, it is extremely important to get your eye pressure tested on an annual basis by visiting Capitol Eye Care Center.
Risk Factors for Increased Eye Pressure
- 60 Years of Age or Older
- Have a History of Eye Surgery
- Have a Previous Eye Injury
- Having Extreme Nearsightedness or Farsightedness
- High Internal Eye Pressure
- Other People in the Family Have High Eye Pressure
How do we diagnose Glaucoma at Capitol Eye Care Center
The following tests, all of which are painless, may be part of this evaluation.
Tonometry - determines the pressure in the eye by measuring the tone or firmness of its surface. Several types of tonometers are available for this test.
Pachymetry -measures the thickness of the cornea. Thicker corneas may give falsely high eye pressure readings and thinner corneas may give falsely low pressure readings. Furthermore, thin corneas may be an additional risk factor for glaucoma.
Gonioscopy - is done by numbing the eye with anesthetic drops and placing a special type of contact lens with mirrors onto the surface of the eye. The mirrors enable the doctor to view the interior of the eye from different directions. The purpose of this test is to examine the drainage angle and drainage area of the eye. In this procedure, the doctor can determine whether the angle is open or narrow and find any other abnormalities, such as increased pigment in the angle or long-standing damage to the angle from prior inflammation or injury.
Ophthalmoscopy - is an examination in which the doctor uses a handheld device, a head-mounted device or a special lens and the slit lamp to look directly through the pupil (the opening in the colored iris) into the eye. This procedure is done to examine the optic nerve at the back of the eye.
Visual field testing - actually maps the visual fields to detect any early (or late) signs of glaucomatous damage to the optic nerve. In order to find and follow glaucoma, visual fields are measured by a computer one eye at a time.
Optical coherence tomography (OCT) - is noninvasive imaging systems that create a three-dimensional image of the optic nerve and retina to better evaluate and quantify the presence of ocular damage from all types of glaucoma.
Treatments for Glaucoma
Glaucoma can be treated, and the inner pressure in your eye can be reduced in order to prevent damage to your optic nerve. Common treatments include eye drops, laser eye and/or glaucoma surgery, Capitol Eye Care Center will determine what type of treatment is best for you.
The most common treatment used to reduce internal eye pressure is daily eye drops. These eye drops can either decrease the amount of fluid the eye produces, or they can increase the flow of fluid through the trabecular meshwork.
Laser Eye Surgery
If the eye drops fail to adequately reduce the internal pressure in the eye, laser eye surgery may be needed.
Trabeculectomy is a delicate microsurgical procedure used to treat glaucoma. In this operation, a small piece of the clogged trabecular meshwork is removed to create an opening and a new drainage pathway is made for the fluid to exit the eye.