January 7, 2020

You hear the term glaucoma quite often in the optometry industry, but do you know what it is? Dr. Lin, one of our newest optometrists, took the time to write an information post on the topic!

A few questions I get asked a lot is: How is my pressure from the “air-puff” test? Do I have glaucoma? My answer is usually more complicated as I would explain that results from the “air-puff” test (i.e. intraocular pressure) alone cannot give a definitive diagnosis of glaucoma. In other words, more information is needed. So, what exactly is glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a progressive disease that damages the optic nerve at the back of the eye. This damage starts with peripheral vision loss and eventually leads to a permanent loss of visual field. Glaucoma is the most common cause of irreversible blindness in the world1, yet there are no warning signs or symptoms at early stages of the disease.  Therefore, it is important to visit your eyecare professional regularly. We perform routine tests including the measurement of intraocular pressure, dilated fundus examination, and may order specific tests such as optical coherence tomography (OCT), visual field test (Figure 1), and pachymetry (thickness of cornea) to assess your risk for glaucoma.

Figure 1: Visual Field Printouts of Glaucoma tests
Figure 1: Visual Field Printouts

Although everyone can be affected by glaucoma, the following groups are at higher risk and should visit an optometrist immediately:

  • Increased age
  • African-North American, Hispanic, or Asian ethnicity
  • Family history of glaucoma
  • History of eye injury
  • Steroid users

The best way to screen for glaucoma is via routine comprehensive eye examinations. Are you at a higher risk for glaucoma or is simply due for an eye exam? Request an appointment with one of our eyeDOCS optometrists today.

 

Reference:

  1. Quigley HA, Broman AT. The number of people with glaucoma worldwide in 2010 and 2020. Br J Ophthalmol. 2006;90(3):262-267.