What is Glaucoma?
Of the three million Americans who currently have glaucoma, only about half are aware of it. And although glaucoma cannot be cured, it can be controlled, and the risk of profound vision loss is reduced if it is detected early.
Patients often don’t realize they have glaucoma until they visit their ophthalmologist for an unrelated reason. This is because glaucoma is gradual and painless as it destroys the peripheral vision. Not until central vision (used for reading) is affected will a patient notice a visual problem. Glaucoma is a disease that affects the optic nerve in the back of the eye and destroys nerve cells needed for vision.
The most common treatments for glaucoma include eye drops, laser surgery, and glaucoma surgery.
Thief of Sight, Not So Sneaky Anymore
Glaucoma may no longer be such an elusive disease thanks to a test that analyses the nerve fiber layer in the back of the eye. This test (the Cirrus HD-OCT) can actually detect glaucoma before there is any vision loss or increased pressure in the eye. Complete Eye Care was the first private practice in Michigan to offer this type of advanced technology to patients. The test takes less than five minutes and is completely painless. A safe, invisible laser scans the back of the eye to analyze the nerve fibers and transmits an image.
The Cirrus HD-OCT produces a color-coded map that determines the thickness of the nerve fiber layer and instantly compares it to a database of healthy glaucoma-free patients of the same age. A thinning of the nerve fibers indicates glaucoma may be present.
Dr. Waters then interprets this image and is able to tell if there are signs of glaucoma. These images are saved and compared with future tests to document any changes in glaucoma progression. “This glaucoma test is much more sensitive in determining who has glaucoma,” Dr. Waters said. “It significantly improves the quality of follow-up care to determine if the treatments are effective.”
This test is especially good news for those who are at risk of having glaucoma. Those who are in one of the following high-risk categories should take advantage of this early-detection test once a year:
- People with an immediate family history of glaucoma
- People with diabetes
- African Americans over the age of 50
- Hispanics over the age of 65
- Long-term steroid users
- People who are very nearsighted
The earlier glaucoma is detected the better chance there is to slow the progression of the disease and preserve vision.
If you fall within one of these risk categories, give us a call at 810-732-2272 to schedule your glaucoma screening or click here to fill out our quick email form .