Aging is inevitable. Growing older in itself is a new adventure, one which might turn worrisome due to reduced functioning of certain parts of the body like eyes, ears, nose, etc. Aging organs need regular check-ups to ensure you remain in the best of health.
One of the most crucial organs are the eyes. A common complaint that senior citizens have is vision problems, with difficulty in focusing or even loss of vision. This ‘silent thief of sight’ which commonly causes blindness in the elderly is glaucoma.
Glaucoma occurs due to high blood pressure in the eye. To manage it efficiently, early detection is critical. A Glaucoma screening test assists in identifying glaucoma at an early stage when aggressive treatment can prevent vision loss.
What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a disease of the eye that affects the optic nerve responsible for vision. This damage to the optic nerve occurs due to increased pressure inside your eye. Glaucoma causes blurry vision and if not treated in time, can even lead to complete blindness.
Glaucoma is regarded as a ‘silent thief of sight’ as it often does not produce any signs or symptoms in the early stages. Symptoms might be experienced when it’s too late. Thus the only way to diagnose it is through regular check-ups.
If you are a senior citizen and experiencing any of following symptoms, you must get yourself screened for glaucoma promptly:
- Difficulty in seeing
- Seeing halos around lights
- Pain in eyes
- Repeated headaches, especially when reading or doing something that strains the eyes
- Redness in the eyes
These are just a few of the symptoms of glaucoma that may affect your vision.
What Does Glaucoma Screening Involve?
There is eyesight testing equipment that helps in screening for glaucoma as well as diagnosing it. The common ones are as follows:
- Ophthalmoscopy – This test is performed using a device known as the ophthalmoscope. Using this tool a doctor can look inside your eye. This can help in detecting damage to the optic nerve inside the eye.
- Tonometry – This is a test performed to measure the pressure inside the eye (intraocular pressure). The procedure involves numbing the eye using anesthetic eye drops. Next, the eye is pressed by a flexible probe that helps in measuring the pressure of the eyeball without actually making a cut or entering the eye tissues.
Also, tools like the VT1 Vision Screener are essential in diagnosing glaucoma. These glaucoma screening tests take very little time, are incredibly safe, and really efficient at detecting the condition.
Who should regularly undergo screening tests?
- People above the age of 40 years are prone to develop glaucoma; hence all senior citizens must get themselves screened for glaucoma annually
- People whose parents or siblings have glaucoma
- People who complain of poor vision or difficulty in seeing
- People who have diabetes for 10 years
- People who are on certain steroid medications
What is the Importance of Screening Tests?
The most considerable advantage of a glaucoma screening test is that glaucoma can be detected at a very early stage, and treatment at this stage can prevent blindness. This is why a vision screener improves your patient’s experience. Older people who are particularly at risk of developing glaucoma, if screened on time, can be saved from vision loss.