An optometrist specializing in glaucoma can help detect this eye condition at its earliest stage. In most cases, patients do not feel pain or any disturbing symptoms as they start to gradually lose their vision. This is why it is important to consult with an eye doctor regularly. When you start experiencing any form of vision loss, it is best to raise this concern to your optometrist.
Learn more about glaucoma in this video:
Listed below are a few more ways that your optometrist can aid in your glaucoma treatment.
Detecting early signs and symptoms
Glaucoma has very few obvious symptoms. Many of the manifestations of the condition are often thought of as other eye problems. Sometimes, the symptoms are even brushed aside as mere eye fatigue. It is often only when the disease has progressed when the patient realizes how bad his vision has become. You do not have to wait until you experience this.
You can actually do something to prevent permanent loss of vision as a result of glaucoma. You need to consult with your eye doctor so that he can make a clear diagnosis and put together a treatment plan. Make sure that you remain faithful to the treatment plan. Update your optometrist regularly. Let him know if you are experiencing symptoms that require more extensive treatment. Inform your doctor if you experience the following:
Tunnel vision or loss of peripheral vision
Vomiting or nausea
Sudden eye pain or pressure inside the eyes
Haziness in the eyes
Seeing halos around lights
Taking Note of Your Risk Factors and Family History
Remember that glaucoma is a hereditary disease. This means that it can be passed from one generation to the next. It is not something that occurs in young people often. While this is so, it does not mean that you should not get your eyes checked in your youth. Getting your eyes tested while you are still young can result in early detection and treatment. In many cases, this also leads to a better prognosis.
Most likely, your family only has one optometrist who you trust with your eye needs. He would thus be aware of your family history and know whether you are more likely to develop the condition or not. See your optometrist early on in your life if glaucoma is in your genes. For everyone else, regular optometrist visits is advised when you hit 40.
Performing the Diagnosis
The optometrist takes care of checking for and diagnosing glaucoma. He will be able to recognize any eye issues that need to be addressed with medical treatment. Most of the diagnostic tests are quick and relatively painless procedures.
The most common way to diagnose glaucoma is by dilating the pupils of your eyes using a certain type of eye drops. Dilated pupils enable the optometrist to check your vision better. It also allows him to examine the inner part of your eyes.
The primary focus of the examination would be on your optic nerve. Its appearance will confirm if you do have glaucoma. The optometrist specializing in glaucoma will take photographs of the optic nerve. This will give him a better idea of the progression of the condition over time. Your doctor may show these photographs to you as well when you discuss your treatment plan.
Your optometrist can also perform a tonometry test to determine your eye pressure. There is also the visual field test. This will help the optometrist determine if you have lost any of your peripheral vision.
Prescribing a Suitable Glaucoma Treatment
More frequent consultations and optometrist visits are necessary if you have mild glaucoma. The same is true if you have ocular hypertension. Your optometrist can recommend weekly or monthly check-ups depending on your condition. This will allow him to monitor your eye pressure. To determine the ideal treatment method for your specific condition, he may also order diagnostic tests.
Your doctor might lessen the frequency of your visits to only a few times per year when your eye pressure stabilizes. However, your doctor could recommend more aggressive treatment if your condition worsens. He may require you to go through surgery or he may endorse you to other specialists who might be able to help you more.
Referring You to a Licensed Glaucoma specialist
Permanent vision loss can result when glaucoma progresses to an unmanageable level. Optometrists refer these cases to opthalmologists with surgical licenses. There is often no need for the optometrists do postoperative care in these cases.
There are also cases where glaucoma patients can be co-managed by both the optometrist and the ophthalmologist. In this arrangement, you need to visit both of these eye care specialists. The schedule and frequency of your visits will vary depending on your specific condition. With such collaborative effort, both doctors can share the test results and come up with a complementary treatment plan. They will be able to monitor the progression of your case so that they can prescribe the proper treatment as soon as possible.
Early detection is the key to preventing blindness in glaucoma patients. This is especially true if you are genetically predisposed to the disease. You can bet the most efficient treatment when you consult with both your optometrist and opthalmologist. Your optometrist specializing in glaucoma can have an early diagnosis. Your opthalmologist can then initiate the proper treatment right away.