At Vision Specialists, we know you want to see and experience the world around you at every age in life. In order to do that, you need reliable vision for your future. The problem is, you may be at risk, or developed glaucoma, which makes you feel fearful of going blind. We believe you deserve sight for life and all of its greatest moments. We understand your concern, which is why we screen for glaucoma at every routine vision exam and can catch and manage it very early on with today’s latest technology and doctor recommendations.
Here’s how we do it:
1. Receive your 7-Step Glaucoma Risk Analysis.
2. Understand your risk and management recommendations.
3. Preserve your vision for your future.
Schedule an appointment today. So you can stop glaucoma from stealing your sight and instead see the world with the vision you deserve.
Glaucoma Made Simple
Glaucoma means damage to the optic nerve. It actually is a group of eye diseases, but most commonly involves fluid build up in the front part of the eye. The extra fluid causes an increase in pressure, much like a sink that is not draining properly, which pushes on and damages the optic nerve, causing permanent vision loss.
The purpose of the optic nerve is to transmit images from the eye to the brain, like an electrical cable to your TV. The nerve has over a million “wires,” or axons, traveling within and when damaged, affect the quality of the picture, in this case your vision. In glaucomatous damage, vision loss begins with peripheral or side vision, in contrast to macular degeneration which affects central vision. Although it is fortunate that symptoms may begin very slowly and our least detailed vision is affected first, it is important to note that a person may not notice vision loss until significant damage has already occurred.
Schedule an appointment today, so you can preserve your vision and be proactive with your ocular health.
What did I do?
At Vision Specialists, we know you value your sight. In order to have vision for life, you need to understand what causes glaucoma and what you can do to prevent possible vision loss. We can make it simple to understand.
There are several types of glaucoma, but the most common is called open-angle glaucoma. For reasons researchers do not yet understand, open-angle glaucoma happens when fluid inside the eye does not drain properly. This is the type described above, where increased pressure caused by fluid build-up damages the optic nerve, and thus vision.
Every eye needs a specific amount of pressure inside in order to keep the globe inflated and allow visual impulses to be transmitted, so pressure is not a bad thing in and of itself. In the front section of the eye, the anterior chamber, fluid called aqueous is constantly being produced and drained, maintaining a pressure that varies slightly throughout the day.
Some individuals have optic nerves that are more sensitive to higher pressures than others. This is why some people naturally have higher eye pressure, but do not develop glaucoma, while others can have slightly elevated, or even normal pressure, but exhibit signs of optic nerve damage. These circumstances make glaucoma diagnosis and management difficult, because every case is different and depends on multiple factors.
Angle-closure or narrow-angle is another, less common, type of glaucoma. This happens when the “drain” of the sink is blocked completely and pressure rises very quickly. The area where fluid drains is called the angle, and when the iris (the colored part of the eye) gets very close or blocks the angle, it “stops up” the drain. The blockage of the drainage system inside the eye can happen gradually over time, or in a swift, acute attack. In either case, damage to the optic nerve and vision loss can result, just like open-angle glaucoma.
Here’s how we can help. Visit us to receive your 7-Step Glaucoma Risk Analysis. Then, understand your risk and our management recommendations. So you can preserve your vision for your future.
The Sneak Thief of Sight
We understand the fear of going blind and believe you deserve the gift of sight. This is why our doctors at Vision Specialists will catch the signs of glaucoma way before symptoms present. So you don’t have to worry.
Most of us have experienced a “pressure” feeling inside our head or around our eyes at some point, but unless experiencing a severe angle-closure attack, increased intraocular pressure typically does not cause any pain or discomfort. Vision loss starts as increasing blind spots in the periphery, and if loss continues, progresses to central loss. This is why glaucoma is often called the “sneak thief of sight,” because significant damage can occur with no symptoms or vision loss initially.
If an acute attack of angle-closure glaucoma occurs, however, symptoms are present. A person may notice: sudden blurred or foggy vision, halos or rainbows around lights, severe pain and/or headache, and nausea and vomiting. It is important to see your eye doctor right away if you are noticing any of these symptoms as angle closures can be treated accordingly, and successfully in most cases, if dealt with as soon as possible.
Anyone can develop glaucoma, but those at higher risk include people of African, Asian and Hispanic descent. Other high risk groups include:
- 60 years of age and older
- Positive family history of glaucoma
- Diabetes, hypertension, sleep apnea or conditions causing poor blood circulation
- Significantly near-sighted or myopic
- Long-term steroid use
- Prior history of eye injury
Schedule an appointment now. So you can stop the sneak thief of sight and instead understand your risk of glaucoma and preserve your vision for the future.
Our 7-Step Glaucoma Risk Analysis
While you could be asymptomatic initially, we believe that it is crucial to screen for glaucoma at each evaluation. With today’s latest technology, we can catch the signs earlier than ever before. You deserve cutting-edge care.
Here’s how we do it. At your routine vision exam, your doctor screens for multiple signs of glaucoma. He or she will determine if you should receive the 7-Step Glaucoma Risk Analysis, and if so, you will return for an ocular health exam complete with seven key assessments to determine your overall risk of glaucoma. This extensive care, done with modern technology in a minimal amount of time, is the care you deserve. Here are the seven steps, with a more detailed explanation listed below:
- Intraocular Pressures
- Optic Nerve Head Evaluation
- Family History Assessment
- Ocular Coherence Tomography
- Visual Field Test
A comprehensive eye exam involves several screening tests to evaluate risk factors for glaucoma. Intraocular pressure is something we test at every visit. What used to be the “air puff test,” technology advances have allowed our offices to employ the use of the iCare tonometer, a handheld device that measures intraocular pressure without the startling puff of air. Eye pressure can also be measured using Goldmann tonometry, in which the patient receives a drop with yellow dye in each eye followed by a gentle probe which touches the front of the tears and cornea.
Although elevated eye pressure is a key indicator of glaucoma, we know that testing pressure is only one piece of the puzzle. A screening test of peripheral vision, inspection of the drainage angle inside the eye, and optic nerve size and depth are also measured and recorded during a comprehensive eye examination. If any concerns arise, your doctor may recommend further, in-depth testing to more accurately assess your risk of glaucoma development.
A full glaucoma evaluation includes pachymetry, which is a measurement of the thickness of the cornea (as thin corneas can be a glaucoma risk factor), gonioscopy, or using a mirrored lens to obtain a detailed view of the drainage angle, automated perimetry or a visual field test (kind of like playing video game!), and a structural scan of the optic nerve called and ocular coherence tomography test (OCT). While many eye doctors refer to another office for this battery of tests, we are very proud to have this equipment at all Vision Specialists locations.
Since glaucoma is so often asymptomatic initially, evaluations are increasingly important. Early detection is vital to slowing the progression of the disease. As with any type of medicine, it is always better to be proactive than reactive.
Our doctors have been expertly trained to diagnose and treat glaucoma using today’s latest ophthalmic advanced imaging technology.
The Modern Way to Treat Glaucoma
Glaucoma can be frightening. The treatment doesn’t have to be. We understand your fear which is why we stay on top of the latest research to deliver to you the management you need to retain your sight for life.
There is no cure for glaucoma, which treatment cannot reverse damage that is already present. However, medication or surgical procedures can slow or prevent damage and protect vision from further loss. The proper treatment depends upon the type of glaucoma, among other factors.
Medication is usually the first line of defense against glaucoma.If treatment is indicated, most commonly it will begin with a prescription eye drop to lower the intraocular pressure, either by decreasing fluid production (turning the “faucet” down), or increasing drainage/outflow (opening up the “drain”). Some patients use more than one type of drop to get the desired pressure-lowering effect. Since any medication has potential to produce unwanted side effects, your doctor will take into account any current health conditions and medications prior to starting a new medication. Your doctor will also periodically monitor eye pressure to ensure the drop is working appropriately.
Laser procedures are also an option for glaucoma treatment. There are two main types of laser treatments: trabeculoplasty for open-angle glaucoma, and laser iridotomy for angle-closure glaucoma. Trabeculoplasty involves using a laser to create more “spaces” in the angle to increase fluid drainage and lower eye pressure. Iridotomy is the use of a laser to make a small hole in the iris to allow another “drain” for fluid to escape, which also lowers eye pressure.
Lastly, several types of surgical procedures are available to further reduce intraocular pressure by creating other areas for fluid to drain. Implantable devices are increasingly more popular, and now can even be inserted during routine cataract surgeries. These devices are like shunts that redirect fluid away from the natural “drain” toward reservoirs to be absorbed by blood vessels. Trabeculectomy is another glaucoma surgery where a pocket or bubble is formed in the white part of the eye (the sclera) underneath the upper eyelid. Fluid is moved from the anterior chamber inside the eye into this pocket called a filtration bleb where it can be absorbed by the surrounding tissue.
If you have been diagnosed with glaucoma, your doctor will utilize the excellent technology available to continue to manage the disease with the goal of halting progression. The best way to protect your sight is to regularly have a comprehensive exam so treatment can begin immediately if necessary.
At Vision Specialists, we understand your concern of going blind, which is why we screen for glaucoma at every routine vision exam and can catch and manage this disease very early on with today’s latest technology and doctor recommendations.
Here’s how we do it:
1. Receive your 7-Step Glaucoma Risk Analysis.
2. Review and understand your risk and management recommendations.
3. Preserve your vision for your future.
So, schedule an appointment today. So you can stop glaucoma from stealing your sight and instead see the world with the vision you deserve.