Below is a general guide for glaucoma. if you are looking for a more specific type of glaucoma, please click the following:
GENERAL Glaucoma INFORMATION
What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is an eye disease where there is damage to the optic nerve because of high pressure inside the eye. This can lead to loss of vision.
How is Glaucoma caused?
The eye is full of water produced by glands inside the eye. That is how the eye is maintained round. This water is constantly drained from the inside of the eye through drainage canals. When the drainage canals do not function properly, this increases water pressure in the eye and can damage the optic nerve.
Are the drainage canals involved with Glaucoma similar to those when I tear?
No. Think about this like the windshield fluid and oil in a car. They are two completely different systems that do not interact with each other.
What conditions can put me at higher risk for Glaucoma?
Risk factors that lead to elevated pressure and/or glaucoma also include:
Injury to the eye
Steroid intake (as pills, or inhaled (puffer), or injected or eye drops)
Farsightedness (seeing distant objects better than close ones)
Family history of glaucoma
How do I know if I have Glaucoma?
There are different types of glaucoma. In most types, you will not know you have glaucoma until it reaches an advanced/severe stage whereby you will notice blurred vision. There are a few uncommon types where you may experience hazy vision, eye pain, headaches, nausea and vomiting, or red eyes.
Dr. Cabrera will specify which type of glaucoma you have and provide you further information.
How can we tell if you have Glaucoma?
First, Dr. Cabrera will ask you questions. This is an opportunity to provide a list of your medications, preferably in a printout form from your pharmacy. Then, he will examine your eyes by evaluating your drainage canals, the eye pressure and optic nerve. Your eyes may or may not be dilated with special drops which blur your vision for 4 to 5 hours (bring sunglasses). Dr. Cabrera will provide you with updated information just after the eye exam and will likely order visual field and OCT tests for you. All testing is covered by OHIP.
What is a visual field test and OCT?
A visual field test maps your side vision (peripheral vision) and involves you looking at a central fixed target light while you press a button when a flashing light appears on the side.
The OCT measures the amount of tissue you have in the optic nerve.
If I am informed I have Glaucoma, what does this mean for me?
If you are diagnosed with Glaucoma or “Glaucoma Suspect”, these tests will be repeated every 6 months to monitor your condition.
How do I treat Glaucoma?
The initial treatment of glaucoma is eyes drops and/or laser to be used for the rest of your life.
Dr. Cabrera will elaborate and discuss the treatment plan with you.
What can I do stop further Glaucoma damage to my optic nerve?
Glaucoma is a disease of the optic nerve. To prevent this damage, the best way is to:
Take your eye drops as prescribed in the correct fashion
Attend your appointments for testing and evaluation every 6 months
I wear contact lenses. Will the eye drops be an issue?
This will not be an issue IF you put in your eye drops at the end of the day AFTER you remove your contact lenses (i.e. 10PM).
How fast will the Glaucoma progress with use of medication?
With use of eye drop medications, loss of vision should slow down. However, it is different for every patient and in very rare cases, there still can be a progressive loss of vision. It is impossible to predict if they will be enough to prevent Glaucoma for the rest of your life.
There is potential for Glaucoma to lead to blindness, however, this is very unlikely if you follow your treatment plan.