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Let’s Discuss Donuts

Today we want to talk about glaucoma, so naturally we’re going to talk about donuts!

Now, we know what you’re asking: What does glaucoma have to do with donuts? An excellent question. No, it’s not because donuts are amazing and should be discussed (they of course are, and they should).  The answer lies in the key to glaucoma diagnosis and treatment, which is to protect the optic nerve, and your optic nerve resembles a, you guessed it, glazed donut. With a donut you have the edible part (arguably the best part) and the hole in the middle. Now while the optic nerves in our eyes don’t actually have a hole, they do have a central depression called the “cup”. During every one of our eye exams we measure the healthy optic nerve (edible part of the donut) and estimate the size of the central cup (hole).

Central cupping can vary due to genetics, refractive error (eyeglass prescription), race, and a few other factors. 33% of the average American’s optic nerve is represented by the cup, meaning the average donut hole is a third the size of the donut.  In general, smaller is better, larger is worse.

What is most important is to measure and monitor the size of the cupping (donut hole) over time. If the donut hole is growing and the edible part of the donut is becoming thinner, it is very likely that the patient may be developing glaucoma.

Glaucoma is truly defined as vision loss characterized by loss of healthy optic nerve tissue over time.  We monitor that with an OCT for structure and visual field for function.  There are a number of evidence-based medicine tests which help us monitor patients who are suspicious for developing glaucoma in the hope that we can prevent, or catch, an early transformation from “suspect” to true glaucoma.

So, now that we’ve taught you a thing or two about glaucoma (and simultaneously made you hungry), ask yourself: What size is MY donut? That’s the question we hope comes to mind the next time you drive by a Krispy Kreme, Dunkin, Donelson, or Cool Springs Eyecare!

If you have any questions about glaucoma or want to schedule an appointment to get your donut checked, call Donelson EyeCare today!

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