Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Screening for Glaucoma - Preventive Medicine


Glaucoma is silent and early detection is essential. Permanent loss of vision is the end result. Yearly examinations by a vision specialist, of your choice, will screen for the early onset of glaucoma.

Your body keeps you in balance without your knowledge. This is called homeostasis. In the eye a fluid keeps the shape of the eye perfect for you to see well. Fluid balance maintenance is very important. 

In your eye, fluid enters the internal chamber from small blood vessels called capillaries. These capillaries are found at the arterial end of blood vessels that supply fluid to your body systems. These small tubes are only one cell layer thick. At the same time, fluid is reabsorbed back into the circulatory system through venous capillary beds that return blood to the heart. 

This inflow and outflow of fluid from the chamber of the eye is perfectly balanced. Why is this important? Liquids are not compressible. This is why early detection is essential. If the rate of fluid formation, in the eye chamber, is greater than the rate of reabsorption internal pressure in the eye increases. This slowly increasing pressure destroys the optic nerve of the eye if it is allowed to continue undetected. Glaucoma is abnormal pressure buildup in the internal chamber of the eye. 

This is not temporary. It results in permanent blindness. A vision specialist will prescribe a liquid medication that prevents the pressure buildup. You have to take the medication for the rest of your life.

There are non-profit groups that routinely test people with a machine called a tonometer. It measures internal eye pressure. They screen for values that may indicate you need to see a vision specialist for further tests.

Glaucoma may indicate a capillary condition that results from diabetes. Diabetes is controllable but there is not a cure for diabetes. If you are diabetic your chance of suffering from glaucoma is high.


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