Do you think you will know if you have glaucoma?
The first symptom of the most common type of glaucoma (open angle) is permanent loss of vision. Once vision loss occurs it is downhill, the damage from glaucoma is irreversible and challenging to slow down.
Glaucoma signs include increase intra-ocular pressure (IOP) which is measured during an eye exam. Visual field loss, also measured during an eye examination and loss of retinal nerve fibers and damage to the optic nerve, visible during a dilated eye examination. The best way to determine if you have or are at risk of glaucoma is by having a dilated eye examination.
Glaucoma is a disease of the optic nerve usually caused by increased pressure inside the eye.
Age – greater than 60
Race – African American have higher risk
Glaucoma is treated with drops or surgery and sometimes both.
Don’t wait until you have vision loss to learn that you have glaucoma, schedule an eye exam today.
According to a study reported at the World Glaucoma Congress, the most efficient way to detect Primary Open-Angle Glaucoma (POAG), which is the most common form of glaucoma, is by knowing the medical history of close relatives with the disease. If you have a parent, sibling or child with POAG you have a greater than 25% chance of developing the disease. Others at risk include African Americans over 40, and anyone over 60, especially Mexican Americans. The earlier POAG is detected, the better the prognosis for retaining vision throughout one’s life. POAG occurs when the fluid that nourishes the eye cannot drain properly and the resulting increased pressure inside the eye damages the optic nerve. This is painless and not visually noticeable at first, but will lead to vision loss and blindness if left untreated. Increased pressure in the eye isn’t a sure sign of POAG, but it is a sign of increased risk for the disease. To read more about glaucoma click here.
Early diagnosis is of utmost importance. Dr. Griffith examines different parts of your eye to determine if you have or are at risk for developing POAG. Detection and diagnosis relies on tests for pressure within the eye (Tonometry), corneal thickness (Pachymetry) and observation of the optic nerve (Ophthalmoscopy), quantification of the retinal nerve fiber layer (Optical Coherence Tomography) and visual fields, including peripheral vision. Because of the increased risk among family members, a review of family history is also part of the screening. (Likewise, a positive diagnosis of POAG would be valuable information for close family members.)
Vision lost to glaucoma cannot be restored. The goal with treatment is to slow the disease progress and prevent further vision loss. The most common treatment is a prescription eye drop meant to reduce pressure in the eye. It is important for Dr. Griffith to be aware of other medications you are taking in order to find a compatible treatment for the glaucoma; fortunately there are usually several options. Additional treatment includes laser surgery or sometimes more traditional surgery; both physically alter and improve the drainage structure in the eye. In conclusion, regular eye examinations are vital to prevent unnecessary vision loss. If you are newly diagnosed with POAG or any form of glaucoma, Dr. Griffith can give you more detailed information.
Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases in which the pressure inside the eye may or may not be elevated. If untreated, vision loss or blindness may occur.
January is Glaucoma Awareness Month
Unfortunately, the most common type of glaucoma – open angle, causes no symptoms. Vision doesn’t change, and there is no pain. However, as the disease progresses, a person with glaucoma may notice his or her side vision gradually failing. That is, objects in front may still be seen clearly, but objects to the side may be missed. As the disease worsens, the field of vision narrows and blindness results.
Studies have shown that early detection and treatment of glaucoma, before it causes major vision loss, is the best way to control the disease. So, if you fall into one of the high-risk groups for the disease, make sure to have your eyes examined annually. Individuals at high risk for glaucoma include African Americans over the age of 40, everyone over 60 and people with a family history of glaucoma.
There isn’t a single test to diagnose glaucoma. Drs. Griffith and Staton examine the appearance of the optic nerve, the intra-ocular pressure and visual field results. Further testing such as measurement of the corneal thickness (pachymetry), examination of the anterior chamber and measurement of the integrity of the nerve fiber layer can be helpful in the diagnosis and treatment of glaucoma.
It’s a fact of life that vision can change over time, resulting in a number of noticeable differences in how aging adults see the world around them.
Common age-related vision problems include difficulty seeing things up close or far away, problems seeing in low light or at night, and sensitivity to light and glare. Some symptoms that may seem like minor vision problems may actually be signs of serious eye diseases that could lead to permanent vision loss, including:
Many eye diseases have no early symptoms and may develop painlessly; therefore adults may not notice changes in vision until the condition is quite advanced. Healthy lifestyle choices can help ward off eye diseases and maintain existing eyesight. Eating a low-fat diet rich in green, leafy vegetables and fish, not smoking, monitoring blood pressure levels, exercising regularly and wearing proper sunglasses to protect eyes from Ultraviolet (UV) rays can all play a role in preserving eyesight and eye health. Early diagnosis, treatment of serious eye diseases and disorders is critical and can often prevent a total loss of vision, improve adults’ independence and quality of life.
The best way to prevent eye disease and continue leading an active productive live is to maintain yearly eye exams or follow the doctor’s recommendations.
There are no symptoms for glaucoma. Vision stays normal and there is no pain. However, as the disease progresses, a person with glaucoma may notice a decrease in his or her side vision. Once vision is lost to glaucoma, it can’t be restored. That is why it is important to have regular eye examinations with pupil dilation.
Measurement of the “eye pressure” is just one factor in determining glaucoma. In fact, it is the damage to the optic nerve that confirms the diagnosis of glaucoma. The optic nerve is examined by dilating the pupil to view it with stereopsis (with depth). The dilation also allows better, clearer fundus (back of the eye) pictures to be taken for year-to-year comparison.
Visual field testing measures the nerve fiber layer in the eye and can detect loss of important nerve tissue before optic nerve changes occur.
Studies have shown that early detection and treatment of glaucoma is the best way to control the disease. To learn more about glaucoma and how it is treated, click here.
I’m going to crow a little here. The California State Board of Optometry notified me that I’m officially licensed to provide glaucoma care. This is an endeavor I started 10 years ago with course work at UC Berkeley. I put it on hold because the state requirements were insurmountable. Laws changed and last January I made the decision to finish what I started with more coursework through UC Berkeley. After hours of online cases and tests (how things changed in 10 years) and two days of grand rounds at the School of Optometry I had completed all the education and patient cases.
Most of my patients won’t experience any difference in their care. But for those who I’ve been observing more closely for suspicious glaucoma findings, I won’t have to refer you to someone else as I can now treat the disease.