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Be Careful If You Are Diagnosed With Glaucoma

For decades, ophthalmologists have relied on a simple test "air puff" to check for high pressure inside the eye, often an early warning of glaucoma. Now a new test, called pachymetry, which measures corneal thickness, can be much more helpful to measure pressures inside your eye. Turns out the thickness of your cornea can significantly influence the readings on the air puff test that is used to diagnosis glaucoma.

If you have thin corneas, the instrument may give falsely low readings and may miss the diagnosis of glaucoma. If you have thick corneas the air puff test can actually misdiagnosis you as having glaucoma despite the fact that you have normal eye pressures. Normally the same tricks to lower blood pressure and eye pressure work. The simple steps would be to lower your insulin levels through avoidance of grains and sugars and to make sure you have sufficient cardiovascular exercises to lower your fasting insulin levels to below 3 or 4.

However, I have seen a fair number of patients fail to respond to this regimen and now it is obvious that their failure to respond may have been related to the fact that they never had glaucoma to begin with. Amazing.

So if you are challenged with glaucoma, please make sure you have your corneal thickness measured by pachmyetry. The test costs about $50 and unfortunately, because it is so new, is not covered by most insurance companies, but sure seems like it is worth paying for the test from my perspective.

Business Week November 22, 2004

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