GLAUCOMA: TESTING & TREATMENT
You can't see Glaucoma Coming...But we can
According to the Canadian National Institute for Blindness, over 250,000 Canadians suffer from a single type of glaucoma. It is an incredibly serious sight limiting disease, resulting in permanent irreversible vision loss. But there is hope. With early detection and treatment, glaucoma may not leave you in the dark.
The earlier we catch glaucoma, the more effectively we can treat it. That’s why we include glaucoma testing with every eye exam we conduct for our patients; so we can nip it in the bud and preserve your eyesight for years to come.
What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma refers to a group of eye diseases associated with high intraocular pressure (IOP). These diseases all cause irreversible damage to the ocular nerve, resulting in vision loss. There are three main types of glaucoma.
The damage caused by glaucoma cannot be reversed. But there are treatment options for people diagnosed with the disease that can slow or stop the progression of the disease.
These treatment options for glaucoma are designed to lower your eye pressure (intraocular pressure) and include medications, laser therapy and surgery.
Normal Tension Glaucoma
Normal tension glaucoma is the name applied to cases where the patient’s aqueous humour seems to be draining properly and the IOP is within the normal range, but the optic nerve still sustains damage. Although there are a few theories as to why this happens, doctors still don’t know for sure.
Acute Angle-Closure Glaucoma
Acute angle-closure glaucoma occurs when the angle between the iris and the cornea suddenly closes, restricting the drainage of the aqueous humour. While open-angle glaucoma works cumulatively over a number of years, acute angle-closure glaucoma happens extremely rapidly. The moment the angle between the iris and cornea closes, the IOP starts to rise; damaging the optic nerve. Acute angle-closure glaucoma requires immediate treatment and should be considered a medical emergency.
While most forms of glaucoma develop without symptoms, acute angle-closure glaucoma creates a variety of traumatic symptoms, including:
Extreme eye pain
Glare or light halos
If you experience these symptoms, you need to see a doctor immediately.
The fluid inside your eye (called the aqueous humour) should always be flowing; filtering into your eye while simultaneously flowing out of your eye. If the aqueous humour isn’t draining properly, the IOP begins to rise.
Open-angle glaucoma occurs when the angle between the iris and the cornea is wide enough to facilitate drainage, but the the IOP continues to rise. This indicates a problem or blockage in the drainage duct system.
This form is the most common, building very slowly over a number of years. The progress is so slow that patients often don’t notice the vision loss until they’re already experiencing significant tunnel vision. Because this version of glaucoma doesn’t typically present any symptoms other than vision loss, it can go undetected and untreated for years, causing permanent damage.
Open-angle glaucoma can easily be detected in its early stages through regular eye exams.