Glaucoma: The Silent Thief of Sight
Glaucoma is an eye disease that causes progressive damage to the optic nerve. This damage is often, but not always, associated with increased intraocular pressure or IOP.
Early stages of glaucoma rarely have symptoms and, because it causes irreversible vision loss, it’s often called “the silent thief of sight.”
Routine eye exams are the only way to diagnose glaucoma. At Legacy Eye Care, all exams include testing for ocular disease. But we also provide full-service ocular care, including comprehensive treatment plans to keep your eyes healthy and happy.
Types of Glaucoma
There are 4 main types of glaucoma.
Open-angle glaucoma is the most common and accounts for nearly 90% of all cases in Canada. It progresses slowly and doesn’t present any early warning signs. Many don’t notice vision loss until the optic nerve damage is extensive.
Open-angle glaucoma occurs when the fluid inside the eye can’t drain properly despite the drainage system remaining clear. When this fluid has nowhere to go, it increases the eye’s IOP, which causes damage to the optic nerve.
Although rare, acute closed-angle glaucoma is considered a medical emergency.
It occurs when the drainage angle between the iris and the cornea becomes blocked, resulting in the rapid buildup of fluid. Symptoms include sudden and severe eye pain and headache.
Acute angle-closure glaucoma can lead to irreversible vision loss if not treated immediately.
Like acute closed-angle glaucoma, chronic angle-closure glaucoma occurs when the drainage angle closes. But unlike acute closed-angle glaucoma, it happens gradually over weeks or sometimes years. The only symptom is vision loss.
Secondary glaucoma occurs due to other conditions, like injury or inflammation, diabetes, or medications.
Who Is at Risk of Developing Glaucoma?
Certain risk factors increase one’s likelihood of developing glaucoma:
- Elevated eye pressure
- A family history of glaucoma
Tonometry is a common test used to measure intraocular pressure (IOP). High IOP is a common indicator of glaucoma, but it can also be a sign of other eye conditions.
There are many different tonometers on the market, but at Legacy Eye Care, we use non-contact tonometry and the Tono-Pen®.
Non-contact tonometry, which you may know as “the air puff test,” uses a tiny puff of air to measure your eye’s resistance to pressure.
The Tono-Pen® is a hand-held applanation tonometer that is quick and accurate. It measures your eye’s resistance to pressure using the very gentle touch of a probe.
Optical coherence tomography (OCT) is an imaging technology that uses light to take highly detailed, cross-sectional images of the eye inside. These images help us find problems with the retina or optic nerve.
Visual field testing uses a flashing light to subjectively measure your field of view, including your peripheral vision. This test helps find vision loss patterns that may indicate early vision changes associated with ocular diseases like glaucoma.
Treatments for glaucoma generally focus on managing IOP. These include:
When Was Your Last Eye Exam?
It’s never too late to start protecting your ocular health. Even if you’re diagnosed with an eye disease like glaucoma, our experienced team at Legacy Eye Care will provide counsel and support throughout your life-long treatment.
Please book your comprehensive eye exam with us to ensure you’re protected from the damaging effects of glaucoma.
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You can find our beautiful new clinic behind the Best Western, just off 43rd Avenue in Atim Creek Centre.
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Our Address#119-3003 43 Avenue
Stony Plain, AB T7Z 0H4
- Phone: 780.968.9665
- Fax: 780-968-9611
- Email: [email protected]