Pop Magazine

Glaucoma: Taking Care Of Your Optic Nerve

24 March 2017
Eye exam to prevent glaucoma

Did you know that glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness in Canada? This condition is caused by deterioration of the optic nerve due to the buildup of fluids within the eye. The optic nerve plays a critical role in transmitting information received by the eye to the brain. Damage to this nerve reduces your field of view and can lead to a total loss of vision if is not treated in time. Since the damages are irreversible, preventing the onset and development of glaucoma is essential, especially in people over the age of 40 since they are more prone to getting the disease than the rest of the population.

This year World Glaucoma Week takes place from March 12 to March 18 and Michel Pop Clinics are joining the cause by informing you about this disease.

 Monitoring Eye Pressure Levels Is Key

Because it is essential to completely understand glaucoma, let’s simplify it:

In different parts of our eye a liquid called aqueous humor circulates. This transparent liquid is constantly filtered and renewed by our eyes using evacuation canals. If for some reason the evacuation canals carrying the aqueous humor are blocked, the intraocular pressure increases. It is then that glaucoma can begin to set in. The best way to prevent glaucoma is to measure your intraocular pressure regularly, especially after the age of 40.

Different Types of Glaucoma

There are two types of glaucoma:

  • Chronic glaucoma (the most common): It settles gradually and is due to the slow obstruction of the aqueous humor evacuation canals. The symptoms themselves are not notable, so it is necessary to prevent its appearance by carrying out regular eye examinations.
  • Acute glaucoma: It occurs abruptly and causes severe pain associated with rapid obstruction of the aqueous humor evacuation canals. This is an ophthalmologic emergency that must be immediately taken care of.

Glaucoma Odds Increase As You Age

Why should we worry about glaucoma? Because it can lead to blindness if it is not treated! In Canada, it is the second leading cause of vision loss for people over 65 years old*.

Glaucoma can occur at any age, but the risks increase as people get older. Michel Pop Clinics therefore invite all their readers to have their eyes checked regularly to decrease risks. Indeed, symptoms of chronic glaucoma are not notable at the onset of the disease and become notable when glaucoma is already advanced. Measuring your eye pressure, using a tool called tonometer, is therefore essential and is the best way to prevent deterioration of your optic nerve. The test is painless. Your eye care professional will be able to prescribe appropriate treatment, including medication if necessary, or, more rarely, surgery to allow aqueous humor to flow regularly if a block is found.

Questions About Glaucoma

  • Can glaucoma be treated with glasses?

No, glasses and contact lenses do not treat the optic nerve. Glasses and contact lenses act on the anterior part of the eye, making it easier for your retina to focus. They do not act on the posterior part of the eye where the optic nerve is located.

  • Is glaucoma hereditary?

Just because your parents have developed glaucoma does not mean that you will too. With that being said, having a family history of the condition can increase yours odds of developing glaucoma. If more than one case exists in your family you might want to check your intraocular pressure more frequently.

  • Can glaucoma affect children?

Yes, glaucoma can affect children and even babies. This is a very rare condition and is called congenital glaucoma. The affected patient is usually treated by surgical procedure and followed throughout his or her life to ensure that his intraocular pressure remains stable.

 

Cliniques Michel Pop recommends routine eye exams for preventing glaucoma and other degenerative eye conditions    

 

For more information on World Glaucoma Week (March 12th to 18th of 2017) Click here.

 

*Source : http://www.pfizer.ca/sites/g/files/g10017036/f/201410/Glaucoma_0.pdf