CAN OPTOMETRISTS TREAT GLAUCOMA?

What is Glaucoma?

It is an eye condition that is common in our population. It occurs when the optic nerve is damaged due to any reason. The optic nerve is the one that creates the link between the eye and the brain so any damage to it can lead to loss of vision. The optic nerve can be damaged when excess fluid builds up in the front part of the eye and hence the pressure inside the eye increases leading to damage of the optic nerve known as glaucoma.

Who can diagnose and treat Glaucoma?

Optometrists and Ophthalmologists both deal in eye conditions but Ophthalmologists are more trained and expert than Optometrists. An Optometrist provides primary care of eye issues while an Ophthalmologist diagnosis treats as well as operates different eye diseases according to the level of severity. Optometrists might be new in the field of treating glaucoma but they can play a role in the treatment and management of this eye condition if they get proper training, experience, practice, and further education after completing the necessary education and training for becoming an optometrist. 

Treating or managing glaucoma varies from one optometrist to another depending upon their comfort level, training, practice, and experience. An optometrist prefers referring the glaucoma patient to a glaucoma specialist but if in some remote areas where no glaucomic specialists can be found, the optometrist would have to manage certain conditions themselves.

Diagnosis of Glaucoma:

An Optometrist or an Ophthalmologist can use different tests, techniques, methods, and procedures along with taking medical history for the proper diagnosis of glaucoma. These include tonometry, dilated eye examination, imaging tests, visual field test, pachymetry, and gonioscopy, etc.

Treatment of Glaucoma:

  1. This eye condition can be treated by using eye drops, oral medications, laser therapy, filtering surgery, drainage tubes, minimally invasive glaucoma surgery (MIGS), or a combination of any of these as prescribed by the practitioner.
  2. Other alternative medicines that some people may go for include herbal remedies, relaxation techniques, marijuana.

Remedies: 

  1. Consumption of a healthy and balanced diet rich in vitamins.
  2. Appropriate exercise program.
  3. Limit drinking caffeine beverages.
  4. Sipping different fluids more frequently.
  5. Sleep in such a position that can keep your head elevated.
  6. Taking prescribed medicines regularly on time without any day off from medicines.

 Prevention is always better than treatment and in any eye condition timely diagnosis, management and treatment are better than losing vision and facing more complex conditions.

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