There are many different problems that can affect our eyes and certain eye diseases require specialized testing in order to accurately diagnose and treat them. Two of these conditions are cataracts and glaucoma, both of which are eye diseases that can lead to total blindness if you don’t receive treatment.
We are pleased to be able to offer specialized testing and care for both cataracts and glaucoma here at our vision center in St. Marys, OH.
Cataracts are a very common ocular condition that is characterized by the clouding of the natural lens of the eye. It typically occurs with advancing age, when the proteins that are found in the eye begin to clump together, forming clouds. When the patient tries to see through these, it seems as though they are looking through frosted glass. Eventually, if a cataract is left untreated, it can grow and block an increasingly large area of vision until the entire eye is affected.
There is currently no cure for cataracts, but it is possible to treat them and restore your vision using cataract surgery.
We use a series of different tests in order to comprehensively diagnose cataracts. These specialist tests are carried out in the comfort of our offices and will enable us to both diagnose cataracts and determine how severely you are affected. These tests include the following:
Visual acuity testing - A visual acuity test is used to evaluate your quality of vision at different distances.
Potential acuity testing – This test is used to find out how well you might be able to see if you didn’t have a cataract. This is important because we need to know that cataract surgery is likely to be successful in improving your vision.
Slit-lamp testing – This special microscope magnifies your eye so that we can assess the appearance of the lens of your eye to see just how large the cataract that you have it.
Pupil dilation – Pupil dilation is one of the easiest ways to visualize the natural lens of the eyes. This is because when your eye is dilated, it increases in size. This will enable us to see how large the cataract is and how significantly your vision is affected.
The early symptoms of cataracts can be improved using glasses, anti-glare sunglasses, and brighter lighting. However, eventually, most patients find that they need surgery to improve their vision. Cataract surgery involves removing the natural lens of the eye that has become clouded and replacing it with an artificial intraocular lens or IOL for short.
Cataract surgery is very common and has a very high success rate. It takes less than an hour and is carried out using local anesthetic wherever possible, meaning that you can go home the same day. However, your vision will remain blurred for up to 6 weeks while you heal, and you may need additional support during this time. If you have cataracts in both eyes, you will need to have them treated in two separate surgeries to limit your visual impairment during recovery.
Glaucoma is another common eye disease. Patients with glaucoma experience a build-up of pressure inside their eye that causes the optic nerve, which is the nerve that connects the eye to the brain, to become damaged. Whilst it is more common in older patients, it can affect anyone at any time. Most glaucoma develops slowly over a number of years, with peripheral vision being affected first. However, there is another type of glaucoma that develops suddenly and must be treated quickly to prevent sight loss.
There are a series of different tests that can be performed to obtain a glaucoma diagnosis. These include the following:
Tonometry – Tonometry is used to measure the pressure within the eye. If your intraocular pressure is found to be exceeding 20mm Hg, you could be at risk of or suffering from glaucoma.
Ophthalmoscopy – This test is designed to enable us to examine your optic nerve to see whether or not it seems abnormal or damaged in any way.
Perimetry – This is another name for visual field testing, which looks at how effective and accurate your peripheral vision is. This is helpful as peripheral vision loss is often one of the first symptoms of glaucoma.
Pachymetry – Corneal thickness can influence the results of some tonometry tests and cause IOP readings to be higher. By understanding your corneal thickness, we can better understand your IOP reading and whether or not there is cause for concern. Pachymetry is a simple, painless test that enables us to measure your cornea.
Exactly what treatment you will need for glaucoma will depend on the type that you have been diagnosed with. If you have developed glaucoma suddenly, immediate action will need to be taken to preserve your eyesight. This means medication to reduce the pressure in your eye, followed by laser treatment.
If your glaucoma has developed slowly, there are a variety of treatments that may be recommended to you. These range from eye drops to laser treatment and surgery. Our experienced and knowledgeable team will be able to advise you which treatment you will need and talk you through every step of your care.
If you have further questions about cataracts or glaucoma, or if you would like to arrange an appointment to be assessed by our expert team, please contact St. Marys Family Eye Care in St. Marys, OH today (419) 800-0400.