What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is often called the "silent thief of sight." It is a disease of the optic nerve, which is the part of the eye that carries the images we see to our brain. The optic nerve is made up of many nerve fibers and when damage to an optic nerve fiber happens, blind spots develop. It usually occurs with no pain and so gradually that you may not know you have lost any vision until it has fully progressed. At that point you cannot get the lost vision back. This is why it is extremely important to have regular comprehensive eye examinations after the age of 40. These exams test for glaucoma and other eye diseases to stop them in their tracks.
Glaucoma is caused by “pressure” inside the eye. In an eye with Glaucoma, the fluid produced is too much or outflow is too little. The fluid filtering through your eyes (trabecular meshwork) does not work properly, causing the eye pressure to increase. As this painless process continues, it increases your intraocular pressure causing damage to your optic nerve. Your optic nerve is responsible for carrying visual impulses to your brain for optimal vision.
When the optic nerve is damaged by glaucoma, your Middlesex Eye Physician ophthalmologist will note a change. This change can be documented by photographs of the optic nerve; called a cup to disk ratio. The cup to disk ratio is a numerical measurement used by your ophthalmologist in evaluating the progression of your glaucoma.
Glaucoma can be treated with eye medications. When caught in its early stages, physicians will monitor patients with an eye exam, perform visual fields (side vision testing) and the OCT (measurement of the retinal nerve fiber and optic nerve) and if needed prescribe eye medications.
When visiting your Middlesex Eye Physician ophthalmologist, your exam will include an evaluation of your eye pressure and your optic nerves.
As noted above, it is important if you are diagnosed with glaucoma to see your ophthalmologist on a regular basis. If you are prescribed a glaucoma medication, this must be evaluated each time you return to our office to ensure your medications are working.