Frequently Asked Questions
How often should an individual be examined to detect glaucoma?
BETWEEN Ages 40 and 60: At least once every two years
OLDER THAN 60: Once a year
HIGH RISK PATIENTS: Once each year after age of 40
What are flashes?
Flashes of light are a subjective sensation. It is an illusion seen when the vitreous (jelly inside the eye) rubs or pulls on the retina. This could be part of normal aging process. When a person ages, the vitreous gel in the eye liquefies and separates from the retina. This separation can cause flashes. Flashes could also be a sign of a retinal problem. It could be due to a posterior vitreous detachment or a retinal tear.
What does one do?
A detailed ophthalmic examination is mandatory when you see flashes of light to rule out retinal tears or a retinal detachment.
What are floaters?
The vitreous gel degenerates as a person grows older forming small clumps or strands which appear as floaters. Floaters can be in the form of rings, cobwebs or a sudden shower of minute red colored or dark spots. The latter usually indicates a vitreous haemorrhage due to tearing of a peripheral retinal blood vessel. Floaters could be a normal phenomena in short sighted people.
REMEDY: Floaters can be disturbing. If there is a definite cause for the floaters, it can be treated. Otherwise there is no treatment for floaters. They usually diminish over a period of time. Moving the eye back and forth or up and down creates currents within the vitreous, which are capable of moving the floaters out of your direct line of vision.
How is diabetic retinopathy diagnosed?
The retina specialist dilates the pupil to look inside the eye. On finding diabetic retinopathy, he may order fluorescence angiography. In this procedure, a dye is injected to get magnified colour photographs of the retina.
REMEDY: The best treatment is to prevent the development of retinopathy. Strict control of your blood sugar will reduce the long term risk of visual loss
What is glaucoma? How is glaucoma detected with its symptoms?
Glaucoma is a group of diseases, that gradually steals sight without warning. Most, but not all these diseases are characterized by raised pressure within the eye. Loss of vision is due to damage to optic nerve.
Most types can cause significant visual loss without symptoms. As the glaucoma advances, the following symptoms may be seen - Blurred vision, eye pain, headache, rainbow-colored halos around lights, nausea and vomiting can be seen in acute glaucoma.
Regular eye examination by your ophthalmologist is the best way to detect glaucoma. During your glaucoma evaluation, your ophthalmologist will:
measure your intraocular pressure (tonometry)
inspect the drainage angle of your eye (gonioscopy)
evaluate whether or not there is any optic nerve damage (ophthalmoscopy)
test the peripheral vision of each eye (visual field testing, or perimetry)
How is glaucoma treated?
Glaucoma is usually controlled with eye drops taken daily. These medications lower eye pressure.
Laser treatments may be recommended for different types of glaucoma.
Some cases may need surgery
Glaucoma cannot be cured. It can only be controlled.
Vision lost due to glaucoma cannot be recovered.
It is essential that persons above the age of 40 have periodic eye check up.
Early detection & treatment of glaucoma, before it causes major visual loss, is the ideal way to control glaucoma.
Drugs prescribed should be regularly used as advised by the doctor.