The Famous Puff on the Eye — Testing for Glaucoma
At Central Valley Eye Medical Group, whenever you’re here for your regular eye exam we perform one test where we surprise your open eye with a puff of air. Patients often wonder what we are doing. We measure the eye’s resistance to the air. This isn’t to prepare you for some windy day; this gives our doctors the intraocular pressure within your eye. If the pressure is higher than normal, you’re at risk for glaucoma.
But what is this eye disease?
What Is Glaucoma?
A glaucoma is a collective group of disorders that can damage the optic nerve of your eye. The optic nerve is responsible for transmitting information from what you see to the brain for interpretation. When this nerve is damaged, your vision is impaired, and as it worsens, it can lead to complete vision loss.
When a person has this eye disease, the intraocular pressure inside the eye is abnormally high. Pressure is needed inside the eye to keep the balance of fluids inside the eye, but the disease causes this pressure to increase, damaging the optic nerve. Fluid movement within the eye becomes irregular and builds up.
Two Types of Glaucoma
- Open-angle — This is the most common form of glaucoma. The drain structure in your eye, called the trabecular meshwork, looks normal but the fluid doesn’t flow out, as it should.
- Angle-closure — More common in Asia that the West, it is also known as narrow-angle glaucoma. In this glaucoma, the eye doesn’t drain correctly because the angle between the iris and cornea is too narrow.
Glaucoma and Blindness
Part of the menace of glaucoma is that in most cases the condition doesn’t show any symptoms or pain to the person. As glaucoma progresses, the patient suffers increasing vision loss. If allowed to continue, this leads to total blindness. But this doesn’t have to happen, and glaucoma can be controlled, but it has to be caught early. That’s why all of us at Central Valley Eye Medical continually remind our patients not to skip their every other year eye exams; that’s where we can spot glaucoma early.
Treating glaucoma involves three possible strategies. The preferred treatment is the use of medicated eye drops that are formulated to reduce intraocular pressure. If that treatment is unsuccessful, laser surgery or microsurgery may be necessary.
The best way to head off the ravages of this disease is early detection. Schedule your next eye exam with the team at Central Valley Eye Medical by calling 1-800-244-9907.
Posted in: Glaucoma