GLAUCOMA – WHAT DOES YOUR FAMILY TREE SAY?
A new year is a time for a new beginnings, resolutions and making a fresh start. The top resolutions on the list typically are to lose weight and take better care of your health. As we turn the page on another calendar year and move into 2017, make sure taking care of your eyes is on the list.
January is National Glaucoma awareness month. Learn the effects of this disease, how early detection can prevent permanent vision loss and what treatment options are available should you be diagnosed with Glaucoma.
Risk factors and family history play a role in your chances of developing the disease. That’s why when you have an eye exam at Bissell Eye Care, we review your medical history to see if you might fall into any of these categories.
You are at a higher risk of developing glaucoma if you are over the age of 60, an African American over the age of 40 or if your family has a history of glaucoma. Other factors such as, high eye pressure, abnormal optic nerve anatomy and thinness of the cornea can contribute to increasing your risk factor. It is important to maintain routine eye exams in order to help detect glaucoma early.
During the early stages of glaucoma there are often no symptoms, no pain and no vision loss. Without treatment, as glaucoma develops it will cause a slow loss of the peripheral vision that may go unnoticed.
As time progresses, peripheral vision continues to deteriorate and it will begin to appear as though you have tunnel vision. If left untreated, glaucoma can eventually lead to total vision loss.
Early detection is key in helping to prevent permanent damage before it begins. During your routine eye exam you doctor will perform several checks that help to detect glaucoma. Some of the tests may include:
Visual Acuity Test: utilizes an eye chart to measure how well you see at different distances.
Visual Field Test: is used to measure your peripheral vision. It can show signs of early vision loss which could be one of the symptoms of the onset of glaucoma.
Pachymetry: is a simple, painless test to measure the thickness of your cornea — the clear window at the front of the eye. A probe called a pachymeter is gently placed on the front of the eye (the cornea) to measure its thickness. Pachymetry can help your diagnosis, because corneal thickness has the potential to influence eye pressure readings.
Ophthalmoscopy: this dilated eye exam uses drops to dilate your pupils allowing the doctor to look through your eye and examine the shape and color of the optic nerve and retina for signs of damage.
While there is currently no cure from glaucoma, preventative measures can help to reduce the chances of developing it. Once vision is lost to this disease it is impossible to ever regain that vision.
Be informed, take control of your health and protect your vision.
About the author: John D. Bissell, owner of Bissell Eye Care and Tri-State Low Vision Services, offers comprehensive eye examinations for the entire family, ocular disease detection and treatment, eye glasses, sun glasses, active wear, contact lenses, and low vision examinations for those with significant vision loss. He has undergone specialized training for treatment of low vision by the International Academy of Low Vision Specialists utilizing customized telescopic eyeglasses, prisms and telescopic implants for patients who qualify. The practice accepts most types of vision and health insurance plans.