Glaucoma Facts

By Dr. Mark Jacobs, Associates in Eye Care of Somerset

What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a group of diseases, but they all cause a loss of the fibers in the optic nerve, which connects the eye to the brain. The damage is most often caused by elevated pressure in the eye, but is also possible to have glaucoma with normal eye pressures.

What are the symptoms of Glaucoma?
In most cases of glaucoma, there are no symptoms until the very end stages of the disease. That is the reason it is sometimes called the “silent stealer of sight”. Glaucoma causes loss of the peripheral, or side, vision first before ultimately taking central vision if not properly treated. This is one of the reasons it is so important to have regular
eye exams, even if you think your current glasses are OK or even if you don’t need glasses or contacts.
There is a type of glaucoma, called angle closure glaucoma, that will cause severe eye and brow pain, foggy vision, redness of the eye, and even vomiting. This is an ocular emergency and requires treatment within hours of onset to preserve sight.

How do you test for glaucoma?
At every comprehensive eye exam, we will measure the pressure of
the eye and do a careful examination of the optic nerve through a
dilated pupil. If either the pressure is elevated above normal and/or
the optic nerve has an appearance possibly indicative of glaucoma, we
will order further testing and imaging to measure the peripheral vision, the ocular drainage system, and the thickness of the nerve fiber layer in the retina. In most cases, we will repeat the tests after a period of several months to monitor for changes that would indicate a need for treatment.

How do you treat Glaucoma?
Most patients with glaucoma are treated with a single eye drop used
nightly. In those cases where that is not sufficient, we can add
additional drops or perform a laser treatment in our office called SLT. In rare cases, it is required that the patient be sent for more extensive surgical procedures, but again, that is not often required.
Generally, glaucoma patients are seen every 3-4 months to monitor
their condition.

What is the prognosis for people with Glaucoma?
Worldwide, glaucoma is among the three leading causes of blindness.
Untreated, most glaucoma patients would go blind within 10-15 years
of developing the condition. Thankfully, with proper treatment and
monitoring, most patients never notice any vision loss or other
symptoms.

Dr. Mark Jacobs is the chief optometrist at Associates in Eye Care of Somerset. Call 606-678-4551 to schedule your appointment.

Protect Your Eyes From Strain And Injury At Work

by Dr. Matthew Testa, Associates in Eye Care of Jellico

No matter what you do for a living you probably couldn’t do it without using your eyes. Whether you’re a mechanic, welder, or you work in an office on a computer all day; protecting your eyes is very important.

If you have a job that has a lot of dangerous equipment like landscaping, any job that requires grinding metal, or construction, the main thing you can do is wear safety glasses. Safety glasses are specially made using more durable lenses that will not shatter. They will stop fast moving metal and rocks. Safety glasses have saved countless eyes from potentially sight threatening injuries. If you are a welder or out in the sun all day, making sure you have proper protection from the light is also important. That can be either a welder’s mask or sunglasses to prevent UV rays from damaging your eyes.

If you work in an office or in front of a computer all day, there are a few tricks to help maintain healthy eyes. When looking at a computer screen, you tend to blink less, which can dry out your eyes. Keeping over-the-counter artificial tears at your work desk can help your eyes feel more comfortable throughout the day. Also, when looking at the computer for long periods of time some people feel eye strain. It is important to take 30 second breaks, where you either close your eyes or look at something far away (about 20 feet), every 20 minutes or so. This will help prevent eye strain and tension headaches. One last thing you can do to help your eyes stay healthy is get blue blocker or anti-glare coatings on your lenses to minimize glare and the amount of harmful blue light getting in your eyes throughout the day. To find out more about these safety options for your glasses, find your nearest Associates in Eye Care office.

Dr. Matthew Testa can be reached at our Jellico, TN office.
Call (423) 784-2020