Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases, which in most cases produce increased pressure within the eye. A backup of fluid in the eye typically causes this increased pressure. Over time, it causes damage to the optic nerve, but through early detection, diagnosis and treatment, you and your doctor can help to preserve your vision.
Glaucoma can be diagnosed in using various methods. One method includes using a Tonometer. The Tonometer will determine the pressure in the eye by barely touching the cornea to measure the IOP. Since the doctor will use numbing drops, the test is quick, easy, and painless.
Another method of checking for Glaucoma is The Pachymeter. The pachymeter measures the patient’s central corneal thickness. Like the tonometer, your doctor will first numb the eyes and then a small probe will be placed perpendicular to the central cornea.
A vision test can also be used to diagnose Glaucoma using flashes of light and a buzzer to determine the patient’s progression of visual loss.
Ophthalmoscopy uses an instrument called an ophthalmoscope where an eye doctor can look directly through the pupil at the optic nerve. Its color and appearance can indicate if there is damage from glaucoma and how extensive it is.
A doctor may perform a gonioscopy to closely examine the trabecular meshwork and the angle where fluid drains out of the eye. After dilating and numbing the eye with drops, the doctor places a special type of hand-held contact lens, with mirrors inside, on the eye. The mirrors allow the doctor to view the interior of the eye from different directions. The doctor can then determine if the angle is open or narrow and note that patient’s with narrow angles have an increased risk for an acute glaucoma attack
Lastly, imaging technology can be used to diagnose Glaucoma. Image analysis systems allow the doctor to evaluate the optic nerve and the retinal nerve fiber layer which are both areas commonly damaged by glaucoma.
Various treatments are available to help with Glaucoma. These treatments include eye drops, pills, laser surgery, traditional surgery, or in some cases, a combination of methods. Vision lost from Glaucoma is irreversible, but with proper treatment, vision loss can be prevented.