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What is Glaucoma

Jeffrey Taranto- Residency Trained Optometrist in Ocular Disease and Special Testing at the Woodhull Hospital in Brooklyn New York in 2006-2007. A progressive Disease that damages the Optic Nerve in the retina. The Optic Nerve Controls our peripheral (side) vision. There are no symptoms of Glaucoma so EVERYBODY must have an eye exam once a year or you will never know if you have it. IT has NOTHING to do with the need to wear glasses or contacts. Many patients who get glaucoma do not wear glasses or contacts so they do not think that they need to have an eye exam once a year. Image result for glaucoma optic nerve pictures Glaucoma is very easy to treat but it is very difficult to diagnose because sometimes normal Optic Nerves can give the appearance of Glaucoma. Because of this it is very important that you see an Optometrist or Ophthalmologist who has had a great deal of experience in a hospital setting and is proficient in CORRECTLY diagnosing the disease. Glaucoma is a disease that is often misdiagnosed by many Optometrists and Ophthalmologists and it is often OVERTREATED when there is no need for treatment (Glaucoma is treated with eye drops until it becomes very advanced to the point when one may require laser or surgery). Glaucoma CANNOT be diagnosed in ONE DAY most of the time. It is often a puzzle that takes time to after gathering data and can take months or years to diagnose so it is important to be properly monitored if you are a Glaucoma Suspect according to your Eye Doctor. We do not know exactly WHAT causes Glaucoma but high EYE PRESSURE has been linked to the disease. Eye pressures are often measured incorrectly so it is important to see somebody who uses the most up to date technology. Having high eye pressure does not mean you have glaucoma but it may mean you are at risk for developing it. Patients with thicker corneas tend to have higher eye pressure and patients with thinner corneas tend to have lower eye pressures as measured by the Eye Doctor. During a routine yearly eye exam it is important to always have 3 tests performed by your Eye Doctor. Screening visual field Accurate measurement of your eye pressure. A retinal photo to get a good look at the Optic Nerve which should be taken once a year to monitor for subtle changes in the appearance of the Optic Nerve head. What should be done if your Eye Doctor thinks that you might be at risk for Glaucoma after your annual eye exam? Do not freak out because Glaucoma is a very SLOW disease so time is on your side. Return to the office in a few weeks for a thorough Glaucoma work up which is quick and painless and consists of a 10-12 minute visual field of each eye separately, Optic Nerve Head Photos, another measurement of the eye pressure, and a procedure called Gonioscopy to look at the angle where the fluid drains out of the eye to make sure it is not damaged. After these tests your Eye Doctor may want you to come back and repeat the testing in a few months to see if the results are repeatable. Sometimes tests need to be performed many times before Glaucoma can be correctly diagnosed.

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