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Hello Readers,

Thanks for the great feedback. I enjoyed all the comments. Of late, I have been getting a lot of questions on the disease called glaucoma. I have therefore decided to dedicate the next 3 to 4 articles on this topic. I will make an effort to simplify them as much as possible.{{more}}

Glaucoma is best defined as a group of eye diseases that gradually steal your sight without any warning. Usually in the early stages of the disease, they are no symptoms. It is estimated that at least half of the people afflicted by this disease may not even know it.

The main reason why people go blind with this disease is because of damage to the optic nerve. The optic nerve can be compared to an electric cable with over a million wires. It has the responsibility for transporting images from the eye to the brain.

Although there has been a lot of research, there is no known cure for glaucoma as of this writing. However, the use of medication and surgery can help to slow down or prevent further vision loss.

They are many factors involved in the treatment of glaucoma; however detecting the disease early is the most crucial way for stopping its progression.

In the past, we used to use high eye pressure within the eye (intraocular pressure) as the most likely cause of the optic nerve damage. Nowadays we understand that other factors are involved, because many people with even normal levels of pressure are experiencing vision loss from glaucoma.

Recently, it has also been found that the thickness of the cornea plays a role in measuring the level of pressure in the eye. People with thick corneas may have falsely high eye pressure readings and conversely people with thin corneas, may have falsely low pressure readings. A test called pachymetry measures the thickness of the cornea and allows ophthalmologists to determine whether people at risk for glaucoma should be treated or not.

Other examinations may also include: Visual acuity exams, Gonioscopy (Anterior Chamber angle assessment), Examination of the optic nerve and the retina, Visual field examinations and computer nerve imaging among other tests.

As you can see, diagnosing glaucoma may involve several complex procedures.

Next week, we will dig deeper into the disease and also discuss who is at risk, symptoms, and other things that you need to know about glaucoma.

Until then have a great weekend.

Dr Kenneth Onu is a resident Consultant Ophthalmologist at the Beachmont Eye Institute/Eyes R Us. Send questions to: [email protected]

Tel: 784 456-1210