March 8th – 14th is World Glaucoma Awareness Week and since glaucoma is the second most common cause of preventable vision loss in seniors, Optometrists are urging Canadians to get their eyes examined. After all, early detection can help control the disease.
What are the symptoms?
There aren’t any! Glaucoma often develops gradually and painlessly without noticeable symptoms until vision loss begins and, once symptoms of vision loss are present, they are irreversible.
What causes glaucoma?
While the exact cause is not completely understood, glaucoma is commonly caused by the overproduction of fluid and/or a decrease in fluid being drained from the eye, which damages the optic nerve. As the fibers that make up the optic nerve are damaged due to increased pressure on the nerve, the amount and quality of information sent to the brain decreases and a loss of vision occurs. In some cases, glaucoma can occur when eye pressure is normal; this is called normal pressure or normal tension glaucoma.
Who is at risk?
Though cases are more frequent in those over 40 years old, anyone can be diagnosed with glaucoma. Pay attention if glaucoma runs in your family, you’re diabetic, have high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease or a history of eye injury – you may be at greater risk.
How is glaucoma detected?
A comprehensive eye health examination from an optometrist is the only way to check and is the key to preserving vision. At iSight Optometry we have specialized glaucoma-specific testing including:
- Tonometry – to measure the pressure of the eye. We have 3 different ways to measure your eye pressure including Goldman Tonometry, Perkins Tonometry and Non-Contact Tonometry
- Ophthalmoscopy – a diagnostic procedure to examine the inside of the eye including an optic nerve assessment. We offer both Optos imaging and biomicroscopy.
- Visual Fields – to assess the sensitivity of the complete field of vision
- Pachymetry – a simple, painless test to measure the thickness of the cornea
- Gonioscopy – diagnostic test that helps assess the drainage system inside the eye
- Optical Coherence Tomography – a non-invasive imaging test that uses
light waves to take cross-section pictures of your retina.