Although we hear a lot about it, many people do not think about the possibility of having glaucoma. Glaucoma is a degenerative disease of the eye that gradually takes away a person’s vision due to damage to the optic nerve. The earlier this disease is caught, the greater the chance that its progress will be able to be slowed. This is why preventative care is so important. During a visit to your eye doctor, he or she may perform a glaucoma test to make sure you aren’t suffering from this serious disease. The Glaucoma Research Foundation suggests a person should get tested at ages 35 and 40, and then every two years or so after that. There are two common tests that can be performed:
- Tonometry – This test measures the inner pressure of the eye. Drops are first used to numb the eye, and then the doctor will use a special device to gauge the amount of pressure.
- Ophthalmoscopy – During this test, the inside of the eye – particularly the optic nerve – is examined. A doctor will magnify the patient’s eye in a dark room and look at the shape and color of the optic nerve. If something appears to be abnormal, the doctor will perform additional tests, known as perimetry and gonioscopy. The perimetry, or visual field, test involves indicating when a moving light passes through your peripheral vision. Gonioscopy checks if the angle where the iris meets the cornea is open or closed, and it is a painless test.
It’s important to follow the recommendations of the Glaucoma Research Foundation and get tested for glaucoma on a regular basis if you are over the age of 40. Doing this can help you avoid undetected progression of the disease. Also, be sure to ask your eye care practitioner how you can use your discount vision plan to maximize your savings during these vision-saving appointments.