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Glaucoma: Detection, Prevention and Treatment

Glaucoma is a widespread eye condition in which the bundle of nerves at the back of the eye that feeds visual information to the brain, known as the optic nerve, is damaged because of high inner eye pressure. If not treated properly, this condition can lead to total permanent blindness in a short amount of time. In most case, glaucoma has no noticeable symptoms, and patients diagnosed with glaucoma usually note that they did not feel or notice anything unusual about their vision at all. So, how can make sure that your glaucoma is caught early and treated properly?
First of all, the most effective way to prevent glaucoma is to have a comprehensive eye exam at least once a year, that includes screening and tests for glaucoma. Since glaucoma usually doesn't show symptoms until significant damage has already been done to your eyes, waiting until you already see or feel a difference in your eyes or vision before seeing a doctor can be exceedingly dangerous and increases the chances that irreversible damage may already have been done to your vision before glaucoma is detected and treatment is started.
Furthermore, recent technological advances in retinal scanning and glaucoma screenings have made earlier detection of glaucoma during routine eye exams easier than ever before. Among the most important and ground breaking of these technologies is Optical Coherence Tomography, or OCT. Dr. Larry Carr of Saugeen Shores Family Eye Care explains, “This advanced device allows us to see retinal, optic nerve and cornea structures that are invisible to regular exam methods by using laser light to produce a high resolution image of your eyes. These images are so detailed, we are able to look at cross sections smaller than a human hair! This allows us to see even the smallest changes in the retina and optic nerve with greater accuracy, and much higher definition than ever before.”
Along with regular eye exams to ensure early detection, many other steps can be taken in your day to day life to prevent the development of Glaucoma. Moderate exercise, such as a light jog or walk, has been proven to benefit your overall health. Exercising like this three or more times every week can help lower your intraocular pressure. Protecting your eyes from injury and keeping them clean of bacteria are also important for preventing glaucoma.
In cases in which, despite your best efforts, you do develop glaucoma, it is good to know that, if caught early and treated properly, glaucoma rarely causes blindness. Dr. Carr explains possible treatment, “One treatment that we may explore is a prescription of special glaucoma eye drops that either reduce the formation of fluids in the front of the eye or increase its overflow to overcome the blockage that causes build up of pressure. We also maintain a relationship with some of the top ophthalmologists in Ontario, who offer various laser surgery options for the treatment of glaucoma. We would be able to refer you to a top quality eye surgeon, help you prepare for your laser surgery by administering all the required tests and screenings beforehand, and answer any questions you may have before your glaucoma surgery. We will also be here to help you through your post-operation recovery and make sure that you are healing up properly.”
For more information about glaucoma and how to prevent it, contact Dr. Carr today.