If you’ve ever had your eyes checked, you might be familiar with the puff of air test that makes almost everyone jump out of their skin. This simple test checks the pressure in your eyes, the primary indicator of a condition called glaucoma that can eventually lead to blindness. At his practice in Asheville, North Carolina, board-certified ophthalmologist, Dr. Steven L. Cahan offers expert diagnosis and treatment for this serious eye condition. Call or schedule an appointment online today.
Glaucoma is an eye condition where excessive pressure in your eyeball damages the optic nerve, eventually leading to blindness. Glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness in older people today.
The inside of your eye is made up of a clear liquid called aqueous humor. Your eye constantly produces new aqueous humor to maintain the correct pressure within your eye. Old liquid drains from your eye through a microscopic drainage system around your iris and cornea. When that liquid doesn’t drain properly, fluid builds up in your eye, putting more pressure on your optic nerve. This leads to damage, vision impairment, and eventually, blindness.
There are two types of glaucoma: open-angle and closed-angle glaucoma. The difference between the two is the blockage or deformity in the drainage system in the eye that prevents your eyes from effectively draining extra aqueous fluid. Closed-angle glaucoma tends to develop more quickly than open-angle glaucoma.
Open-angle glaucoma is known as the silent thief of sight because in most cases, it doesn’t cause any noticeable symptoms before permanent damage occurs. One of the first signs of damage to your optic nerve includes blind spots in your vision. Blind spots usually develop in your peripheral vision first.
Closed-angle glaucoma doesn’t cause symptoms or warning signs before an attack. Signs of a closed-angle glaucoma attack include:
The best way to detect glaucoma is to have regular comprehensive eye exams that check your eye health as well as test your vision. Dr. Cahan uses tonometry — the puff of air test — to check the pressure in your eye, as well as checking the drainage angles of your eyes and your optic nerve for signs of damage. He also checks your peripheral vision for blind spots.
Checking for early signs of glaucoma is critical to your eye health and protecting your vision. Once your optic nerve is damaged, it can’t be repaired. However, with prompt treatment, Dr. Cahan can restore your eye health and reduce the extra pressure in your eyes.
Dr. Cahan treats glaucoma with a combination of medicated eye drops and procedures to promote effective drainage and reduce the pressure in your eyes. Surgery is usually a laser procedure to either modify the drainage angle or to make a new opening in your eye for drainage.
If you’re concerned about glaucoma or are due for an eye exam, call or schedule an appointment online today.