Glaucoma is often referred to as the “sneak thief of sight.” That’s because it is known to cause irreversible damage to vision with no symptoms. Once vision loss occurs, it is impossible to restore. Glaucoma is only diagnosable through an eye examination. This is why it is important to attend your routine eye exams.
Dr. Lutz On Why He Chose a Specialty in Glaucoma
Glaucoma occurs when the pressure inside of the eye (intraocular pressure) becomes elevated for a long period of time. As the pressure builds, the eye swells and presses up against the optic nerve, causing damage. The damage to the optic nerve and subsequent vision loss are both irreversible.
The longer intraocular pressure is elevated; the more damage it will cause. There are no symptoms of elevated intraocular pressure.
Glaucoma is usually diagnosed during a routine eye examination. The most common method of diagnosis is the use of tonometry. During this test, your eye is numbed and an instrument called a tonometer is pressed gently against the eye. This device will then measure the pressure inside of your eye. Other diagnosis methods include inspection of the eye’s drainage angle, inspection of the optic nerve, and testing of your peripheral vision.
Glaucoma can be treated in multiple ways, depending on the patient. Eye drops designed to lower intraocular pressure are usually the first step. If those do not lower intraocular pressure enough, our doctors may suggest laser surgery or microsurgery. It is important to remember that these treatments do not cure glaucoma. They stop glaucoma from damaging vision further.
You may be more prone to glaucoma if you:
- Are over the age of 40;
- Have a family history of glaucoma;
- Are of Asian, Hispanic or African heritage;
- Have had an eye injury; or
- Have diabetes, frequent migraines, high blood pressure, or overall poor health.
If you have not attended your routine eye exam in a while, be sure to give us a call to set up your appointment. Prevention is the best cure! If you have been diagnosed with glaucoma, contact Eye Care Specialists to begin your glaucoma treatment as soon as possible.
The Amsler grid is a tool that our eye doctors use to detect vision problems. It is helpful in detecting problems with the macula (the central part of the retina) or the optic nerve. An early diagnosis often means early treatment.
How To Use The Amsler Grid Test
Testing your eyes with an Amsler grid is easy and takes only a few minutes. Here are the basic steps:
- Test your eyes under normal room lighting used for reading.
- Wear eyeglasses you normally wear for reading.
- Hold the Amsler grid approximately 14 to 16 inches from your eyes.
- Test each eye separately: Cover one eye with your hand while testing the other eye.
- Keep your eye focused on the dot in the center of the grid and answer these questions:
- Do any of the lines in the grid appear wavy, blurred or distorted?
- Do all the boxes in the grid look square and the same size?
- Are there any “holes” (missing areas) or dark areas in the grid?
- Can you see all corners and sides of the grid (while keeping your eye on the central dot)?
- Switch to the other eye and repeat.
IMPORTANT — Report any irregularities to your eye doctor immediately. You can even mark areas of the Amsler grid that you’re not seeing properly (print two grids if you notice problems in each eye), and bring the grid(s) with you when you visit your eye doctor at Eye Care Specialists.