Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness in the world. The term glaucoma is used to cover a group of related eye diseases that damage the optic nerve, leading to loss of vision, and ultimately, complete blindness. Because this devastating disease has no warning signs, it’s important to have your eyes checked by a licensed professional. Clear Vision Optometry provides comprehensive glaucoma evaluations for patients in the greater Austin community. If you haven’t had a recent glaucoma assessment, call the office in Austin, Texas or book your appointment online today.
Glaucoma isn’t just one eye disease, but a group of related eye conditions that are most often caused by elevated intraocular pressure, or high pressure within your eye. It’s usually brought on by a buildup of fluid in the front part of your eye, which increases pressure inside your eye and damages the optic nerve.
Your optic nerve is made up of about one million individual nerve fibers that transmit visual signals from your eye to your brain. Increased pressure in the eye causes the loss of individual nerve fibers, which leads to progressive damage and loss of vision over time. Glaucoma can be such a gradual disease that it’s often called the silent thief of sight.
Although there are several types of glaucoma, the most common form of the disease is open-angle glaucoma, the kind where optic nerve damage is slow and painless. In fact, people affected by open-angle glaucoma often lose a significant amount of vision before they even begin to notice they’re having vision problems.
Dr. Trinh evaluates your eyes for signs of glaucoma during a comprehensive eye exam. The specific tests that help her detect glaucoma include:
Visual acuity: This test involves reading a standardized eye chart to determine how well you see at various distances. Poor visual acuity may indicate an underlying problem.
Side vision: This test measures your peripheral vision. Loss of peripheral vision is often an early sign of glaucoma.
Dilated eye exam: Using drops to dilate your pupils, Dr. Trinh examines the back of each eye to look for signs of retina or optic nerve damage.
Tonometry: This test uses a device to measure the pressure inside your eyes. Elevated intraocular pressure is a major sign of glaucoma.
Pachymetry: This test measures the thickness of your corneas because people with thinner corneas are more likely to develop glaucoma.
Although there’s no cure for glaucoma, early detection and diagnosis can help slow or prevent future vision loss. Although anyone can develop the disease, African Americans over the age of 40, all adults over the age of 60, and people with a family history of the disease have the greatest risk.