Wednesday, January 11, 2017

When was your last glaucoma test?

The glaucoma exam is when the tech dilates your pupil with drops. Then the eye doctor uses a special lens to look at the back of your eye for signs of problems.

Eye pressure is also measured with a meter touched to the eye or a burst of air.  High eye pressure is a major risk for glaucoma, but not every person with high eye pressure develops a damaged optic nerve and glaucoma can develop without increased eye pressure.

In this country, 2.7 million people over 40 have glaucoma. It's the second leading cause of blindness in developed countries.

Anyone can get it--you don't have to be "older." Even babies and children can get a rare form.

Most at risk are:

--African-Americans over 40

--People over 60, especially Mexican-Americans

--People with a family history

Early detection can result in treatment that can slow or stop the progression of this disorder and thus preserve vision. This treatment does lower eye pressure. by making the eye less fluid or helping fluid drain away from the eye.

A new way of delivering drugs to the eye is being developed--it's a drug-dispensing contact lens.

Some other avenues being pursued:

--Protecting retinal ganglion cells, making up the optic nerve.

--Using the patient's own stem cells to create retinal ganglion cells

--Identifying the genes that contribute to eye pressure

--New ways of testing treatments

Get an exam every 1-2 years. Remember me--one workable eye (not from glaucoma)? Vision is a terrible thing to lose.

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