Many patients hate the dreaded “air puff” test during their annual eye exam. A quick and painless technology is now available in our office to test for glaucoma. The Icare tonometer is based on a new technology that does not require an air puff or eyedrops. The measurement is barely noticeable and our patients much prefer it to the old methods.
What is glaucoma and why is it important to test for it?
Glaucoma refers to a group of related eye disorders that all cause damage to the optic nerve that connects the eye to the brain. Glaucoma usually has few or no initial symptoms. In most cases, glaucoma is associated with higher-than-normal pressure inside the eye. But it also can occur when intraocular pressure (IOP) is normal. If untreated or uncontrolled, glaucoma first causes peripheral vision loss and can eventually lead to blindness.
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the most common type of glaucoma — called primary open-angle glaucoma — affects an estimated 2.2 million people in the United States, and that number is expected to increase to 3.3 million by 2020 as the U.S. population ages.
Glaucoma often is called the “silent thief of sight,” because most types cause no pain and produce no symptoms until noticeable vision loss occurs. For this reason, glaucoma often progresses undetected until the optic nerve already has been irreversibly damaged, with varying degrees of permanent vision loss. Because most cases of glaucoma have few or no early symptoms, about half of Americans with glaucoma don’t know they have it. Glaucoma is also more common as we age.
Visit Primary Eyecare Center today for your annual eye exam.