What You Should Know About Glaucoma
According to the CDC, “about 3 million Americans have glaucoma. It is the second leading cause of blindness worldwide. Open-angle glaucoma, the most common form, results in increased eye pressure. There are often no early symptoms, which is why 50% of people with glaucoma don’t know they have the disease.”
Over the past years, when eye care professionals attend many continuing education courses on glaucoma, there was one relatively term they would hear, Corneal Hysteresis. The Ocular Response Analyzer was the gold standard for many years. It provides the Corneal Hysteresis vale which provides the “shock-absorbing ability” of the eye. A CH below 10 is said to be a bad thing, and above 10 is good.
“Essentially, eyes that are good shock absorbers (high CH) are less likely to develop glaucoma and less likely to experience glaucomatous progression. Conversely, eyes that are poor shock absorbers (low CH) are more likely to develop glaucoma and [have] disease progression. CH reflects how an eye responds to stress (elevated IOP) and whether the eye experiences the brunt of that stress (low CH) or is able to dissipate the energy and protect the optic nerve (high CH).”
Eye doctors are taking CH into account more frequently in recent years when managing a patient’s glaucoma. Some have even gone so far as to say it may bring down the long-reigning Goldmann Applanation Tonometry (GAT) as the gold standard of care to consider when managing a patient’s glaucoma. Most patients recognize GAT as “the blue light” test that doctors do after putting those “sticky, stingy yellow drops” in their eyes. GAT “has been used for nearly 70 years and is considered the reference standard for IOP [eye pressure] measurement” but technology has advanced and perhaps CH, corneal compensated IOP (IOPcc) and the Ocular Response Analyzer could quite possibly become the new fan favorites.
Can Marijuana Cure Glaucoma?
Often asked a question that eye doctors get from patients is regarding the effectiveness of marijuana in the treatment of glaucoma. Marijuana never has been deemed an effective treatment for those who have glaucoma because although it in some cases has been shown to lower eye pressure by even 45 percent, its duration of action is extremely short. The effects last a few hours. Although it is now legal in 33 states for medical purposes, treatment of glaucoma should never be one of them.
New Technology To Detect Glaucoma
Measuring the intraocular pressure (IOP) no longer requires placing something on the surface of the cornea. The FDA has approved the use of a device called Diaton Tonometer, which measures IOP through the eyelid and sclera.
Diaton tonometry is at the forefront of Safe Glaucoma prevention and detection, with unique non-corneal, through the eyelid measurements without the need of eye drops or replacement tips. This technology is simple and ideal for children and adults.
- It is non-contact
- Can be used in any setting
- Reliable measurement
- Increase the probability to diagnose glaucoma in its early stages
- Effective at obtaining IOP measurements for challenging patients with chronic conjunctivitis, erosion, edema, and corneal dimness
Vison Is Something We Must Not Take For Granted
Vision is something that seems automatic from the moment we first open our eyes in the morning to the moment we close them at night, and it is often taken for granted. However, eye conditions that in their early stages are symptomless and painless like glaucoma may strike without a patient knowing. Early detection and treatment are crucial if one wants to fight to keep one’s precious sight.
Whatever tests eye care professionals deem as the best to use to help patients screen, identify and manage glaucoma. Contact us to schedule a glaucoma test, and discuss your options.
by Cheryl G. Murphy, OD