The "Puff" Test - Glaucoma Awareness Month | Long Island Eye Doctor
Do I have to get the “puff in the eye” test?
The answer is YES! This is a very common question we optometrists encounter on a daily basis. The puff tells us the intraocular pressure in the eyeball, and is a very important component to the eye exam. If we find the pressures to be high, we may consider doing further testing for glaucoma.
What is glaucoma? Glaucoma is a condition which affects the optic nerve. The optic nerve is located in the retina (the back of the eye), and sends visual information to the brain. Usually, but not always, the damage to the optic nerve is due to increased eye pressures. There are different types of glaucoma – Open Angle Glaucoma, Closed Angle Glaucoma, Normal Tension Glaucoma, and Pigmentary Glaucoma.
Glaucoma has been known as the silent thief of sight, or the silent disease. This is because, very often, people with glaucoma do not experience any signs of the disease. You normally do not feel increased eye pressures (unless they are extremely, extremely high). Also, glaucoma tends to affect your peripheral vision first, which is hard for you to detect on your own. Other possible signs and symptoms include eye pain, blurry vision, possible nausea and vomiting, and red eyes.
People over the age of 60 are more at risk to get glaucoma, but it is important to know that even children can have glaucoma. Certain ethnicities, such as East Asians and African Americans, are more likely to have glaucoma than Caucasians. Those with certain health condition, such as thyroid disease or diabetes, may be more at risk than others. Glaucoma tends to run in the family, so it’s especially important to get regular eye exams if your parents, grandparents, and/or siblings have glaucoma. Certain medications, such as corticosteroids, can cause glaucoma in some patients as well.
If we are suspicious of glaucoma in our patients, we’ll monitor you with certain tests to check your peripheral vision, the health of your optic nerve, thickness of your cornea, and the drainage of fluid in your eye. This can sometimes take more than one visit. Treatment for glaucoma is usually eye drops, but can sometimes be surgery.
So to sum it up – yes…that 30 second puff test is very important!! It can save your vision. Make an appointment for your eye exam today!
Suchi Matalia, O.D.
Optometrist, Optix Family Eyecare Center