Glaucoma screenings are just one of the many things that went by the wayside during the pandemic. Offices were closed, transportation was scarce, and many of those most at risk of contracting coronavirus were being understandably cautious and canceled previously scheduled glaucoma screenings.
Glaucoma is an eye disease that develops when intraocular eye pressure increases, causing optic nerve damage. When the delicate nerve fibers of the optic nerve are damaged it creates permanent blind spots. Left untreated, glaucoma will progress and can lead to total blindness.
Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness globally and the leading cause of blindness for people over 60. Other groups at high risk of developing glaucoma are those with nearsightedness, a family history of glaucoma, anyone with a past eye injury, smokers, steroid users, diabetics, those suffering from sleep apnea, and those of Asian, Hispanic, and African-American descent.
Worldwide, nearly 80 million people a year are diagnosed with glaucoma. Routine eye exams and glaucoma screenings can help to preserve vision and prevent blindness through early detection.
Glaucoma screenings test eye pressure range, corneal thickness, the peripheral field of vision, shape, and nerve color. There is no cure for glaucoma, and left untreated; it can cause irreversible damage to the optic nerve resulting in vision loss.
Open-angle and angle-closure glaucoma are the two most common types of glaucoma. Open-angle glaucoma accounts for 90 percent of glaucoma cases and is caused by the slow clogging of drainage canals, resulting in an increase in eye pressure.
Transversely, angle-closure glaucoma develops quickly and is caused by blocked drainage canals that create a sudden rise in intraocular pressure.
Glaucoma cannot be cured, but steps can be taken to reduce your intraocular eye pressure. Eye drops, medication, operatic or laser surgery can be used to manage and slow the disease’s progression.