Some of our patients at Complete Eye Care in Lawton, OK don't like one of the procedures that we perform as part of their annual eye exam. The procedure involves one of our assistants instructing the patient to stare into an eyepiece and then a puff of air is shot directly at the eyeball. If you’ve never had this procedure done, it sounds worse than it actually is and it’s a very important test that detects a common eye condition. This test for glaucoma doesn't hurt but it can be quite annoying. However, the test is necessary for our optometrist to be able to detect glaucoma early while it can still be managed. If you live in Lawton, Downtown Lawton, Newcastle, or the surrounding communities, choose Complete Eye Care for your eye care needs.
What Does it Have to Do With Glaucoma?
Before we answer that, a discussion of glaucoma will help you understand. Glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness for individuals past the age of 60. But it can strike at any age, as in the case of congenital glaucoma that affects children as young as one year old. Glaucoma is caused by a build-up of a viscous fluid in the eye, putting pressure on the optic nerve, inflicting irreparable harm, and leading to the loss of vision. The test that involves blowing the puff of air in the eyes, is the first step to detecting glaucoma. If this condition is caught early, it can be slowed down or even stopped before it can damage the eye.
The name of this procedure is called non-contact tonometry, and its purpose is to measure the pressure within the eye, specifically the intraocular pressure. When the air puff hits your eye, the cornea presses back and the pressure it exerts gives the optometrist a reading of that eye's IOP. Now it's important to understand that just because this test may tell the optometrist that your IOP is higher than the norm, it doesn't necessarily follow that you have glaucoma. Some people who are diagnosed with glaucoma had normal or even low readings when tested. If the pressure fluctuates up and down that may indicate the presence of the condition.
The Value of Having Your Eyes Checked Annually
If properly diagnosed early enough, glaucoma can be managed and a complete loss of vision can be prevented. Since vision that is lost due to glaucoma cannot be recovered, treatment will be required for the rest of your life to keep your IOP down. The earlier that glaucoma is detected the easier the treatment will be.
Call Complete Eye Care today if a year has passed since your last complete eye exam. To reach us, call our Lawton office at (580) 355-2020, our Downtown Lawton office at (580) 248-5280, or our Newcastle office at (405) 387-4884.