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How Is Glaucoma Diagnosed?

Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness in people over 40. Because it is such a risk for adults, it’s important to understand your risk factors and how glaucoma is diagnosed. Below, an eye specialist in Tampa with the Florida Eye Center will discuss in detail your specific risk factors for glaucoma, how glaucoma is diagnosed, and what treatment options are available to you if you have been diagnosed with glaucoma.

What Is Glaucoma?

There are different varieties of glaucoma, all of which involve a build-up of pressure inside the eye. Elevated eye pressure causes damage to the optic nerve, and if left untreated, the result is impaired vision and eventual blindness. Primary open-angle glaucoma is by far the most common form of glaucoma. The condition is painless and develops slowly without symptoms. Most people who have it are unaware that they are being robbed of their eyesight because the vision loss is so gradual. There are no warning signs, only irreversible damage to the optic nerve by the time vision problems are noticed. Acute angle-closure glaucoma, on the other hand, appears suddenly with severe pain and sharply reduced vision. It is often accompanied by nausea and vomiting, and an urgent visit is usually required to relieve the pressure and prevent further damage to the eye.

Related: Types of Glaucoma and Their Treatment Options

Who Is at Risk of Glaucoma?

As mentioned earlier, people over 40 are at higher risk of developing glaucoma. Other risk factors include those who:

  • have family members with glaucoma
  • are of African, Hispanic, or Asian heritage
  • have high eye pressure
  • are farsighted or nearsighted
  • have had an eye injury
  • use long-term steroid medications
  • have corneas that are thin in the center
  • have thinning of the optic nerve
  • have diabetes, migraines, high blood pressure, poor blood circulation, or other health problems affecting the whole body

How Is Glaucoma Diagnosed?

Only an ophthalmologist can diagnose glaucoma. To start, specialty instruments are used to accurately measure the eye’s intraocular pressure (IOP), after which drops are placed to dilate the eyes in order to visually inspect the health of the optic nerves.

Advanced imaging technology with Ocular Coherence Tomography (OCT) is available to help objectively assess the nerves and determine glaucoma risk. Additionally, visual field testing is performed as part of a complete glaucoma evaluation when indicated. If the diagnosis of glaucoma is confirmed, treatment generally begins immediately.

Related: What Can I Do to Prevent Glaucoma?

Early Detection and Treatment of Glaucoma

When detected early, glaucoma and cataracts may be surgically treated to prevent further damage. The only defense against glaucoma is early screening as part of a regular eye examination, especially recommended for people over 40. Fortunately, almost all vision loss due to glaucoma can be prevented if the disease is detected early and treated with specially prescribed medications. Glaucoma treatment in Tampa with Florida Eye Center will help slow or repair damage.

To schedule a consultation with an ophthalmologist in Tampa at the Florida Eye Center, please request an appointment today.

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