Did you know that glaucoma is often called a "silent disease"? Generally we don't see any symptoms of glaucoma until the condition is fairly advanced. This is why we always screen for glaucoma at all of your annual eye examinations. Family history of glaucoma can put you at an increased risk to develop glaucoma.
Glaucoma is a condition where the pressure inside of the eye starts to cause damage to the nerve at the back of the eye. The pressure is caused by the liquid produced in the front chamber of the eye, and the nerve is the cable that relays information from your eye to your brain. The exact relationship between the two, and why the pressure affects the nerve is still under a lot of investigation. What we do know is that if the presssure is too high then the nerve at the back can get damaged.
Damage to the nerve can be seen in two ways. Initially we look into your eye to see if the nerve tissue looks healthy. We may also conduct OCT imaging, a type of imaging that measures how much tissue you have and over time can tell us if you are losing nerve tissue. Lastly we will have you do a visual field test, a type of test that tells us if there are any changes to your peripheral vision. Damage to the nerve will cause loss of peripheral vision.
Pressure increases inside of the eye often go un-noticed, the damage is slow and occurs over years. Continuous damage without any intervention can cause permanent vision loss. We commonly treat glaucoma with eye drops to decrease the pressure, but can go to other methods of treatment if needed. Your optometrist can treat your glaucoma with eye drops, and will get you a proper referral to a specialist should you require more extensive treatment.
Make sure to book your annual eye exam today with our optometrist to ensure you are not at risk of developping glaucoma.