3 New Predictors for Developing Glaucoma: Are You at Risk?
HealthCentral Editorial Team Mar 26, 2012 (updated Oct 16, 2013)
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By the time you notice symptoms, it may be too late
Glaucoma typically results from an increase in the normal fluid pressure inside the eye, damaging the optic nerve. By the time many people notice clear symptoms of glaucoma, it may be too late to save much of their eyesight. Here are three ways researchers can now identify possible cases of glaucoma.
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Thinning of the cornea
Researchers have discovered that a thinning cornea may be a strong predictor of future glaucoma. Doctors can test corneal thickness using a process called "Pachymetry." The doctor first applies a numbing drop to the eye, then uses an ultrasonic wave to measure the thickness of the cornea.
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Narrowing visual field
As glaucoma progresses, the field of vision captured by the eye gradually narrows. Objects in the periphery (side vision) may be lost, though they'll appear if the eye focuses directly on them. Over time, the field of vision may become tunnel-like, eventually closing entirely.
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High intraocular pressure
Researchers say that the best way to identify glaucoma before it progresses is to measure the pressure within the eye. A doctor can do this by applying numbing drops to the eye and using a tonometer to gauge its IOP (intraocular pressure) level. Reasearch has shown that an IOP above 18 mmHg is a strong predictor of glaucoma.