Can You Prevent Glaucoma? | Westlake Eye Specialists

Can You Prevent Glaucoma?

elderly couple with glasses on

Glaucoma is known as the silent thief of sight. This is because the vision changes associated with glaucoma often go unnoticed. 

Early detection is vital for preserving vision in those with glaucoma. Keep reading to learn if you can prevent glaucoma!

What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a condition that is characterized by abnormally high pressure inside the eye. This high pressure can be due to too much fluid being created or not enough fluid leaving the eye.

Sometimes, there can be a blockage in the eye’s drainage channel. The blockage constricts the outward flow of fluid that exits your eye, causing pressure to build up slowly. 

With nowhere to go, this pressure eventually begins to wear on the optic nerve at the back of the eye. This delicate fibrous cable has the vital job of carrying information from the retina to the brain.

If the optic nerve is damaged, your eyesight begins to suffer permanently. Even with modern technology, any damage to the optic nerve is irreversible.

The best way to defend yourself against glaucoma is by scheduling regular visits to your eye doctor. They will test your eye pressure using special equipment and compare it to expected levels. 

Tonometry Basics

A tonometry test is designed to read your current intraocular pressure. If the results are higher than usual, that is an indicator to your eye doctor that you may have glaucoma. 

Although eye pressure numbers can differ from person to person, they all should fall within what is considered the normal range. If your eye pressures are consistently on the higher end, you are at risk of developing glaucoma if you have not already. 

There are many ways to measure eye pressure, also known as intraocular pressure, during a tonometry test. One method eye doctors often use is called the Goldmann applanation method.

The Goldman applanation method is considered the most accurate way to measure eye pressure. First, your eye doctor will give you a numbing drop with a yellow color.

The yellow in the eye drop allows your eye doctor to read the eye pressure measurement. Then, attached to the microscope, an object called a prism comes close to your eye. 

Your eye doctor can then read your eye pressure, which displays on a dial on the microscope. Another method eye doctors use is the non-contact tonometry method.

Many eye doctors use the non-contact air-puff test to measure eye pressure. This method uses a special machine that puffs a small amount of air pressure onto the eye.

The machine measures your eye pressure by measuring how light reflects your cornea. The light reflection on your cornea changes from being indented by the air.         

What Happens After a Glaucoma Diagnosis?

With early detection, your eye doctor can help minimize the damage glaucoma can have on your vision. The first treatment method many eye doctors choose is the use of medicated eye drops to reduce eye pressure.

These eye drops work by either increasing the outflow of eye fluid or reducing the fluid production. In some cases, one kind of glaucoma drop will accomplish both. 

There are other ways to treat glaucoma, like laser procedures and surgeries. Your eye doctor will work with you to develop the best treatment plan for you.

The best way to prevent vision damage from glaucoma is to schedule routine eye exams with your eye doctor. They will monitor any changes in your eyes and will be able to detect and treat glaucoma early if it arises. 

Do you want to learn more about preventing glaucoma? Schedule an appointment at Westlake Eye Specialists in Austin, TX today!