Glaucoma is a condition of the optic nerve, which is the nerve at the back of your eye that sends your vision to your brain. Traditionally, glaucoma is always thought of as the pressure in your eyes is too high. This high pressure can result in damage to the optic nerve and cause loss of vision. However, recently it has been discovered that although pressure plays a role, it doesn’t necessarily have to be high, out of the abnormal range, to cause the damage. It’s just that it is too high for your eyes, and lowering the pressure is necessary to decrease the risk of developing glaucoma. In this article we are going to answer the question of how to test for glaucoma and treatments available.
It’s very important to get your eye pressure checked to make sure the nerves of your eyes stay healthy. Glaucoma is caused by many factors and some of them are unknown. The biggest factor for glaucoma is the pressure in the eye called the intraocular pressure. That is one factor that needs to be treated and controlled. By keeping the pressure down, glaucoma can be managed.
There is also a genetic component to glaucoma. This means that if you have a family history of glaucoma, you’re much more likely to develop the disease. Also, some people with certain eye conditions or underlying health conditions in general, such as diabetes, or short-sighted people are more likely to get glaucoma.
How To Test For Glaucoma at Home
There are several methods for diagnosing and treating glaucoma. Many people ask how to test for glaucoma at home, but we don’t recommend that. You should always visit a qualified eye care professional to do the testing. The methods that eye doctors use to test for glaucoma are much better at detecting the disease than at-home tests. Let’s discuss how an optometrist will test you for signs of the eye disease.
First, your intraocular pressure is checked. This looks at the pressure within the eye and makes sure that it’s normal. If it’s high, that increases an individual’s risk of developing glaucoma. Second, your visual field or the peripheral field of vision is tested. This test is traditionally done on each of the individual’s eyes separately and it maps out the field of vision and reveals if there’s anything going on in the eye that needs treatment.
Normally, glaucoma affects peripheral vision before it affects the central vision, which is why it’s important to test the peripheral vision. Most importantly, the optic nerve at the back of the eye is looked at in detail. When the optic nerve gets damaged from increased pressure, it will make it thinner, causing it to lose nerve axon fibers. This needs to be detected and treated to stop it from getting any worse.
Fortunately, nowadays, scanners that can scan the nerve and look at the invisible layers are available. They reveal exactly what is going on with the optic nerve as well as an individual’s risks. It also looks at your nerve and compares it to that of a healthy individual of the same age. Measurements of the wall of the eye are also needed to make sure that your wall isn’t thin, which is also an independent risk factor for glaucoma.
How to Receive Eye Drops For Glaucoma test
Little tools are also used to look within the eye or look at the drainage system so that assessments on the eye can be done accurately. Broadly speaking, there are three different categories of treatment for glaucoma. The first category is eye drops. The eye drops can work very well but applying them every day can be an inconvenience for most patients. They can also give you local and systemic side effects and in some cases stop working.
Occasionally, it is important to use a combination of eye drops to get the pressure down because all of these medications work in slightly different ways. They either increase drainage or decrease the amount of fluid the eye makes. The second category of treatment is lasers. Lasers have been around quite a while but the newer generation of lasers is very effective, safer, painless, and quick.
Some of these lasers work by removing the cells that produce the fluid in the eye. Others work by increasing the drainage system, or space within the eye, to allow the fluid to drain better and keep the pressure down. Laser procedures are considered outpatient procedures, with no downtime for the patient.
Finally, the third category of treatment is surgery. Surgery is very effective but it is invasive. The gold standard trabeculectomy operation works very well and is still one of the go-to procedures when it comes to getting pressure down and saving a patient’s sight. However, there are newer techniques that work just as well and are less invasive, quicker, and obviously kinder to the eye.
What a standard trabeculectomy can do in about 20-30 minutes, can now be done under 5 minutes with no major cut or stitches to the eye. This can be done with the newer microtube XEN procedures. There are lots of new surgical techniques in the market nowadays. However, it is still important to evaluate them all in order to look at what is suitable for each individual.