Glaucoma…

On New Year’s Eve, I had the displeasure of evaluating a patient who presented with the desire to have his DMV form filled out. Unfortunately, he did not know he had glaucoma. During my evaluation, I noticed damage that was totally representative of Glaucoma.

Consider Glaucoma as a sneak thief of sight, as strokes High Blood Pressure is considered a silent killer. Usually, without a physical/routine check up, systemic hypertension can not be diagnosed. Glaucoma is a disease that usually affects the eye, but does not give warning signs to the patient. There are specific types of glaucoma that present with symptoms, but, most of the time, it’s Sneaky!!!

If you are diabetic, near sighted, hypertensive, African-American or Asian, far sighted, or a have a family history, a routine eye exam is imperative. A routine eye exam will permit evaluation of intraocular pressure, the fluid drainage area and appearance of the optic nerve. Nowadays, evaluation of the optic nerve is considered to be more important than the actual intraocular pressure. However, evaluation of the corneal thickness and intraocular pressure are extremely important.

Usually, intraocular pressure that is considered too high for the optic nerve will cause damage to the nerve. Unfortunately, low intraocular pressure can also damage to the optic nerve. Basically, perfusion to the optic nerve is inadequate, and damage occurs even at low pressures. For most people who don’t know what the optic nerve is or it’s capabilities, think of it as the spinal cord of the eye. The optic nerve is cranial nerve 2, and it’s primary function is that of Vision. Anything can affect the optic nerve, such as tumors, inflammation, infiltration, infections, elevated intracranial pressure and vascular eitologies, and glaucoma.

Glaucoma does have a specific presentation, but the aforementioned conditons can occur alone or along with glaucoma. Because glaucoma can be managed (not cured), it is best to have a routine eye exam every year for early detection. If glaucoma is diagnosed in your eyes, it is essential to follow up with your eye care provider frequently!

This blog is for educational purposes, and does not substitute as an evaluation for glaucoma or any of the aformentioned diseases. If you have any further questions, please contact your eye care provider.

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