A typical glaucoma diagnosis starts with the eye doctor reviewing your medical history. He or she then conducts a comprehensive eye exam that involves several tests, including the following:
Tonometry: Used for measuring your intraocular pressure
Pachymetry: It measures the thickness of the cornea
Gonioscopy: It inspects the eye’s drainage angle
Visual field test: Used to check for areas of vision loss
Dilated pupil exam and imaging tests: Used to check for possible optic nerve damage
The tests above are painless and do not take long. Of the five tests, tonometry and the dilated pupil exam are routine. The other three are used when the doctor suspects the presence of glaucoma.
The eye doctor may also use confocal microscopy and an optical coherence tomography device to evaluate the head of your optic nerve. These additional tests help to assess the extent of glaucomatous damage.
Since glaucoma is a permanent condition, intervention seeks to bring down intraocular pressure to stop or slow optic nerve damage. The doctor may place you on medication, laser treatment, or recommend surgery.
The medications recommended for glaucoma treatment are:
Eye drops. These are designed either to slow the production of eye fluid or to increase its drainage. Some patients require a combination of both drainage and slowed production.
Intravenous or oral medication. The medication is either a carbonic anhydrase inhibitor or a beta-blocker. The drugs help to slow the production of eye fluid and to enhance its drainage.
There are three laser treatment options:
Trabeculoplasty opens up the angle of drainage.
Iridotomy is used to drain eye fluid by poking the iris.
Cyclophotocoagulation treats your eye’s middle layer to bring down fluid production. The doctor uses it in patients who have not had much improvement from previous treatments.
When the intraocular pressure is high, incisional surgery is thought to be the most effective treatment. The doctor creates a small flap through which fluid can flow from your eye. You may also have aqueous tube shunts implanted in your eye to ease drainage.
Glaucoma has no cure, but you can do some things to make your life more comfortable and slow the glaucoma progression. They include:
Eat healthy foods like fish and dark leafy greens.
Take your medication as directed.
Exercise regularly to keep blood flowing to your eyes and to lower the pressure in your eyes.
If you smoke, quit because smoking takes a toll on your eyes, causing inflammation and increasing blood pressure. The two increase your risk of getting cataracts and diabetes, both of which raise your risk of getting glaucoma.
Watch the amount of caffeine you take in by limiting coffee, tea, and caffeinated drinks. Too much caffeine can raise the pressure in your eyes.
Wear protective gear on your eyes when playing contact sports, swimming, or working in the yard. Also, get some sunglasses to help block harmful rays when you go out, especially in the summer.
Use a wedge pillow when sleeping to elevate your head. Raising your head just a little will lower the pressure in your eyes.
If you’re at risk of getting glaucoma, early diagnosis helps to slow or stop its progression. Get glaucoma diagnosis tests and treatment at Lakhani Vision Care in Marietta, Georgia. You can call 770-509-9932 to request an appointment.