I have patients ask why they should have a comprehensive eye exam if they are not having vision complaints. Great question! There are several eye diseases that can cause permanent vision loss that is undetectable and painless until it is too late to reverse the course from blindness. The most common example is Glaucoma, commonly known as the Silent Thief of Sight.
Glaucoma affects almost 1 out of 50 Americans and is more common after age 40. It causes damage to the optic nerve (the delicate cable that connects the eye to the brain). It initially causes small areas of blindness in your peripheral vision with no pain and no symptoms. If left untreated, it will cause total blindness in about 10 years.
High eye pressure is a risk for glaucoma but 15% of glaucoma patients suffer from vision loss despite having normal eye pressure. Other risks for glaucoma include steroids such as oral prednisone, or nasal steroid inhalers and sprays-Flonase is an example.
The good news is that most cases of glaucoma can be treated very well with eye drops or simple procedures that can control the progression of the disease and protect your vision.
The best way to prevent vision loss from glaucoma is to have a comprehensive dilated eye exam, especially before age 40 so the doctor can look at your optic nerve. If you or your child are using steroid inhalers or taking oral prednisone, be sure to have an eye exam once a year to monitor your eye pressure. The doctors at Vision Center PC are trained and licensed to diagnose and treat glaucoma. We have the latest diagnostic equipment to detect this disease and we will find the right treatment for your specific situation to prevent vision loss.