October 25, 2014

Glaucoma: The Difference Is In the Cornea

You IOP or intraocular eye pressure is an essential determinant of your risk for glaucoma. The higher the IOP, the more prone you are in getting this eye disease which is why it should be carefully managed in order to prevent vision loss. Your cornea, the clear protective covering of the eye, has shown evidences that its thickness can actually be of help in determining your eye pressure.

The Ocular Hypertension Study (OHTS) released a report in 2002. It was supposed to determine if early administration of pressure lowering medications can stop the progression of ocular hypertension to glaucoma. During the course of the study, however, they were able to discover that the thickness of a cornea has a role in IOP and the development of glaucoma.

The Importance of Corneal Thickness

The thickness of your cornea can lead to an inaccurate reading of your eye pressure. Because of this, your doctor can give you treatment that is not exactly build for your exact condition. Worse, he may give you a treatment for a problem that is not even there in the first place. For those with thicker corneas, their IOP might be underestimated. On the other hand, those with thinner corneas can have overestimated IOP.

Because of such a discovery, patients can be provided with medications that will not address their eye issues. With this discovery, it is very important that you get your eyes regularly checked with an eye care specialist, ensuring that your corneal thickness is taken into account with the diagnosis.

  • Thin Corneas

A cornea is classified as thin when it has a thickness that is less than 555 ┬Ám. They will most often show a low IOP reading. This can be very dangerous because your doctor might not know that your IOP is actually lower than what is shown. So, he might prescribe you with medications to lower your IOP when, in fact, you do not need them at all.

  • Thick Corneas

A cornea that is thicker can show a higher IOP reading than what the actual is. Because of this, doctors can erroneously say that you have a low chance of developing glaucoma when you can be developing them at that moment. And because your doctor might not know it, he will leave you untreated, which can lead to actual glaucoma and ultimately cause blindness.

Pachymetry

In order to determine the thickness of your cornea, you will need to go through a simple and painless test called pachymetry. This process will test both your eyes and will only take about a minute to do so. By performing this procedure before determining your IOP, your doctor can better come up with a treatment plan fit for your specific condition.

Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of vision loss among all eye diseases. Those that have a higher risk of developing them include those who have increased IOP, those who are aged 60 years and above, those of African decent, and those who has a family history of this eye disease. If you are part of any of these high-risk groups, make sure that you subject yourself to a comprehensive eye exam at least once every two years.

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