The eyes have it— or do they?

UPDATE: I saw an ophthalmologist today and from what he can tell I do not have glaucoma at all and the eye pressure reading at the optometrist’s appears to have been wrong. This is a huge relief. My advice to anyone over 40 is go see an ophthalmologist and not an optometrist. I feel very disappointed that I was misdiagnosed.

I learned some surprising news at an eye exam this week.

Apparently I have glaucoma in one eye. It’s a big deal since if I don’t get treated I could go blind.

Based on what I’ve read, (here, for instance) glaucoma is actually not one disease but the name of a group of eye diseases and it’s one of the leading causes of blindness in Canada.

Typically the main sign of it is increased fluid pressure in the eye. Because the eye doesn’t properly drain the aqueous fluid inside the walls of the eye (not tears, but a different fluid), that fluid can build up inside the eye and put pressure on the optic nerve, which transmits the information your eye sees and sends that information to the brain. If you don’t treat glaucoma. eventually the optic nerve gets damaged and you lose your vision permanently.

The usual treatment for glaucoma involves eye drops prescribed by an ophthalmologist, a doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating eye disorders.

When an optometrist checked my eyes using an air puff test which involved sending a small burst of air into my eyes, the reading in my right eye was 40, which I was told is quite high. I didn’t do well on the visual field test. She checked the thickness of my cornea and I think she looked at my optic nerve because part of the test involved dilating my pupils, numbing my eyes and injecting yellow dye into them. She said my left eye is also showing signs of fluid pressure.

I made an appointment with an ophthalmologist but they can’t see me till late April.

I am confused by this diagnosis for a number of reasons.

Glaucoma can be hereditary. What puzzles me is the folks on my mother’s side who have glaucoma were all diagnosed when they were much older. My mom was in her late 70s or early 80s when she found out. I think her sisters had the same experience, though I’d not sure what age they were when they found out they had it.

My grandfather went blind from glaucoma but he too was diagnosed later in life.

I’m in my 40s. Anyone can get it after age 40.

I’ve met other people with glaucoma and I remember in one person’s case his eyes bulged because of glaucoma. My eyes are pretty recessed and they don’t bulge out at all.

I’ve been fighting some sort of cold or allergy lately and my eyes have been puffy. I wonder if the swelling in my eyes created a false reading on the test? Is that even possible?

I’m going to see my doctor on Monday and get some answers. I think more tests are in order and if I really do have glaucoma, I don’t want to wait until April.

My right eye’s been getting worse ever since the test. I have an infection that I’m treating with warm compresses. Weirdly, fluid is leaving my eye. It’s probably not related to glaucoma at all. It’s probably from my eye infection. Still,  I’m noticing the swelling and pressure in my eye.

Apparently in the early stages of glaucoma you don’t feel the pressure building up in your eye at all. That’s why it gets called the “Silent Thief of Sight.”

I really hope this diagnosis is wrong,
















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