Early detection is important to ensure the best treatment for Glaucoma. In Calgary, Mission Eye Care is committed to your eye health and has the latest technology and equipment for early detection of Glaucoma.
What is Glaucoma?
Referred to as ‘the silent thief of sight,’ this blinding disease has no outward or visual symptoms. Glaucoma is a complex disease with risk factors from genetics, injury and systemic disease that include race, gender, age, eye anatomy, diabetes, high myopia and more. Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do to prevent Glaucoma. Routine annual eye exams are your best defense in early detection and treatment, especially if you have an immediate family history.
What causes Glaucoma?
Glaucoma occurs when the pressure of fluid inside the eye exceeds the pressure of the blood supply entering the eye. Over time, this slowly deprives the optic nerve of nutrients and eventually reduces your peripheral (side) vision. This vision loss occurs so slowly that there are no symptoms until years later, when up to 70% of nerve fibres in the eye have been lost, and success in preventing further loss is very low.
Symptoms of Glaucoma?
Glaucoma causes no pain, blurry vision, or noticeable vision loss until it’s end stage. Treatment at this late stage means AT BEST we can only save 30% of your remaining nerve.
How do I know if I have Glaucoma?
Using modern diagnostic imaging equipment (OCT), we can detect nerve losses as small as 5%, allowing for early treatment to reduce eye pressure and prevent further damage.
What is the Treatment for Glaucoma
Treatment for Glaucoma depends on how much damage has been done to your eye and what stage of Glaucoma you are at.
Early Stage Glaucoma
In early stage Glaucoma, if the nerve stays stable with no progressive damage, it may be just an eye drop at night for the rest of your life.
Mid Stage Glaucoma
In mid stage Glaucoma, if damage continues to progress, we either switch to, or add a different class of medicated eye drop.
Advanced Stage Glaucoma
In more advanced Glaucoma cases we will refer you for laser surgery or microsurgery to further reduce eye pressure. When diagnosed and treated early, prognosis for good vision remains high.
It’s important to have an annual eye exam to ensure your eyes are in optimal health. During your eye exam your optometrist will administer the “air puff” test to determine if you are in the early stages of Glaucoma. Further diagnostic testing is done if your response to the air puff indicates a concern.
1. What are the early warning signs of Glaucoma?
Unfortunately, patients with early Glaucoma often have no symptoms. There is no pain, or noticeable change to vision at first. Over time, the peripheral vision can deteriorate, eventually leading to tunnel vision if untreated. Using advanced diagnostic equipment, we can detect Glaucoma before vision is affected. To prevent vision loss, it is important to ensure you are having regular eye examinations.
2. Is Glaucoma very serious?
Glaucoma can lead to loss of peripheral vision, and eventually blindness if not treated. There are 7 risk factors for Glaucoma, and new technology allows us to detect and monitor for Glaucoma so treatment can be initiated at a much earlier stage than in the past.
3. What should I avoid if I have Glaucoma?
People with Glaucoma can continue to enjoy normal activities. Our Optometrists always recommend a healthy lifestyle, diet, and regular exercise, regardless of your eye condition.
4. How do you stop Glaucoma from progressing?
Most cases of Glaucoma are controlled with daily use of eye drops to reduce your eye pressure. However, in certain situations, your Optometrist may refer you to a Glaucoma specialist for laser or surgical intervention.
5. Can a person with Glaucoma drive a car?
Most patients with Glaucoma can still drive. In cases of advanced Glaucoma, your peripheral vision may be significantly impacted, which may limit your ability to meet Alberta’s requirements for operating a motor vehicle. Read the Vision Standards required for driving in Alberta.