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Understanding Glaucoma Protecting Your Vision

Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that causes progressive optic nerve damage typically (but not always) due to increased pressure inside the eye. This condition often develops slowly and without noticeable symptoms in its early stages, making regular visits to your local optometrist in Canberra crucial for early detection and treatment.

Glaucoma often has no symptoms in the early stages, which is why regular routine eye exams are crucial for early detection. As the condition progresses, symptoms may include:

  • Progressive of peripheral vision (often unnoticed until significant damage has occurred)
  • Blurred vision
  • Halos around lights
  • Nausea or vomiting (in acute angle-closure glaucoma)

There are several risk factors for Glaucoma development.

  • Age: The risk increases with age, especially after 60 years.
  • Family History: Having a close relative with glaucoma increases the likelihood.
  • Medical Conditions: Diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease can increase susceptibility.
  • Eye Characteristics: Thin corneas, high intraocular pressure, and atypical optic nerve characteristics can contribute to risk.

Regular eye examinations are vital because glaucoma can progress silently, causing irreversible damage to the optic nerve and potentially leading to vision loss. Your optometrist in Canberra can detect early signs of glaucoma through comprehensive eye exams that include:

  1. Tonometry: Measures intraocular pressure (IOP), as elevated pressure is a potential indicator of glaucoma.
  2. Ophthalmoscopy: Assesses the optic nerve for signs of damage or changes in appearance that could suggest glaucoma.
  3. Optical Coherence Tomography: A non-invasive imaging technique used to accurately measure and assess the layers of the retina and optic nerve head.
  4. Visual Field Test: Evaluates peripheral vision, which is often affected in advanced glaucoma.
  5. Gonioscopy: Checks the structure where the iris meets the cornea to assess fluid drainage from the eye.
  6. Pachymetry: Measures corneal thickness, as thinner corneas can sometimes indicate a higher risk of glaucoma.

Treatment for glaucoma aims to reduce eye pressure to prevent further stress to the optic nerve. Options include:

  1. Medications: Topical eye drops or oral medications to reduce eye pressure.
  2. Laser Therapy: Laser trabeculoplasty or iridotomy can improve fluid drainage from the eye.
  3. Surgery: Procedures such as trabeculectomy or shunt implantation may be necessary for advanced cases.

Glaucoma without prompt treatment could lead to irreversible vision loss.. Regular routine eye examinations are essential for early detection, allowing timely intervention and management to preserve vision. By working closely with your local optometrist and adhering to prescribed treatment plans, patients can effectively manage glaucoma and maintain optimal vision for years. Regular routine eye exams are not just about seeing well today but about preserving vision for a lifetime.