Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness, accounting for approximately 12% of new cases of blindness each year in the United States. This condition affects about 3% of all Americans over the age of 65, and over half of those with glaucoma don’t know they have it. For this reason, it has developed a reputation as the “silent thief” of sight.
What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is an eye disease that develops gradually (usually over several years), causes no pain, and presents only subtle symptoms that worsen over time. These symptoms include blurred vision and loss of peripheral (side) vision to name a few. Glaucoma occurs when fluid buildup in the eye causes excessive intraocular pressure (IOP) that damages the optic nerve, the part of the eye that carries the images we see to the brain. Although many people fear this potentially sight-damaging condition, early diagnosis and treatment can help maintain your vision for a lifetime.
Early Diagnosis & Treatment to Preserve Your Vision
At the Center for Total Eye Care, we use the latest diagnostic exams to pinpoint glaucoma in its earliest stages:
- Humphrey Visual Field (HVF) Test: There are different types of visual field tests. HVF is the one most commonly used in the U.S. It consists of a center fixation light and blinking test lights in your side vision. Areas that appear gray or black on the test results reflect areas in your vision that are blurred or missing. Uncontrolled glaucoma leads to these areas becoming darker and larger.
- Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT): OCT is a non-invasive imaging test that uses light waves to take cross-section pictures of your retina.
- Tonometry: Tonometry is used to determine the intraocular pressure (IOP) within the eye.
Drs. Barber, Friedman, Jun, and Luzuriaga offer a variety of treatment options to manage glaucoma. If glaucoma is detected during your eye exam, your doctor will develop a treatment plan based on your individual needs. Some of the treatment options available include:
- Eye drops: Glaucoma is usually treated with daily eye drops that decrease eye pressure either by slowing the amount of fluid produced within the eye or by improving drainage of that fluid.
- Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT): Drs. Barber and Friedman are the first eye surgeons in the area to offer SLT, a revolutionary procedure designed to treat patients with open-angle glaucoma, the most prevalent form of glaucoma.
- Laser Iridotomy: Laser iridotomy is a type of laser surgery for people who have or who may develop narrow angle glaucoma. A laser is used to make a small hole in the iris. This hole should restore normal flow of fluid within the eye and reduce the eye pressure.
- Trabeculectomy: This procedure is more commonly used after other treatments have not been successful in lowering pressure. It involves creating a tiny passageway from the inside to the outside of the eye to help fluid drain better from areas where it is not currently draining.
If necessary, you may also be referred to one of the highly experienced doctors within our carefully selected network of glaucoma subspecialists.
Regular eye exams help detect diseases like glaucoma before they cause significant, irreversible damage to your vision. Ready to schedule an appointment?