Detecting & Treating Glaucoma
Jan 16, 2024
Early detection of glaucoma is one of the best ways to prevent permanent damage to your vision. But how do you know if you should be tested for glaucoma? Awareness is often the first step and we set aside the entire month of January to focus on glaucoma, its effects and ways to safeguard your vision.
Should You Be Tested for Glaucoma?
Everyone should see their optometrist once a year for a dilated eye exam. Dilated eye exams are the most effective way to diagnose ocular conditions, like glaucoma, and improve your vision. And while we often start the year with intentions to seek out preventative care, we don’t always follow through on these intentions—especially if you don’t have any known problems with your vision. However, there are instances in which having a dilated eye exam to test for glaucoma is imperative to the health of your vision. Let’s look at some scenarios in which you should consider getting tested for glaucoma:
- You are an adult that’s over 60 years of age.
- You are Black/African American and over 40 years of age.
- You are Asian American.
- You are of Hispanic or Latin descent.
- You have people in your family with a history of glaucoma.
If any of these statements apply to you, it’s strongly suggested that you schedule a dilated eye exam with your eye doctor.
Will I Be Able to Tell If I Have Glaucoma?
Unfortunately, there are no early symptoms or signs of glaucoma, which makes the disease especially dangerous. In fact, roughly half of those who have glaucoma do not know they have the disease. Most people who have glaucoma experience no pain, no discomfort and no blurred vision. It’s only when the disease has reached an advanced stage that a person will start to notice their vision being affected (usually their peripheral vision). Once the disease has reached this advanced stage, permanent damage has already taken place and cannot be reversed.
What If I’m Diagnosed with Glaucoma?
Once you have received a diagnosis for glaucoma, your optometrist will have you begin a regimen of glaucoma drops. These medicated drops should be used as prescribed by your eye doctor.
For some patients, glaucoma drops are not the best solution. When this occurs, Wilmington Eye’s glaucoma specialist, Dr. Rob van Der Vaart, offers several in-office glaucoma treatments that alleviate eye pressure, eliminate costly hospital visits and deliver longer-lasting results. These options are available for patients looking for more sustainable treatments. One procedure, Durysta, is a dissolvable implant that delivers continuous glaucoma drops for up to 2 years. This new FDA-approved implant is one of the newest glaucoma offerings at Wilmington Eye.
Minimally-invasive glaucoma surgery is also available for patients with severe or aggressive forms of glaucoma and is performed by our board-certified ophthalmic surgeons Dr. Rob van der Vaart, Dr. Samantha Watson, and Dr. Matej Polomsky.
Resolve to Get Your Annual Eye Exam
While awareness is important, follow through can be the difference between seeing and losing your vision. Resolve to get your annual, dilated eye exam with your Wilmington Eye eye doctor today. Our optometrists can diagnose glaucoma and begin an effective treatment plan to safeguard your vision from the damaging effects of glaucoma.