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Glaucoma... What You Need to Know

More than 2.2 million Americans age forty and older have glaucoma,
but as many as one half may be unaware they have this potentially blinding disease, because they have no symptoms.

Normal Vision
Vision With Glaucoma
Glaucoma is a condition in which the optic nerve is damaged. In most cases the condition is associated with elevated pressure inside the eye and can lead to vision loss.

The exact cause of primary open-angle glaucoma, the most common form of the disease, is unknown. However, some of the other forms of glaucoma may occur along with other abnormalities of the eye.

There are usually no symptoms at first, but as the disease progresses, a person with glaucoma may notice his or her vision gradually failing with:
  • Blurred vision
  • Loss of peripheral vision
  • Difficulty focusing on objects
  • Presence of halos around lights
Although anyone can develop glaucoma, those who are at higher risk and should have an eye exam at least every one to two years include:
  • African Americans over age 40
  • Individuals over age 50
  • People with a family history of glaucoma
  • Individuals who have experienced a serious eye injury
  • People with other health conditions, such as diabetes  (exam every year)
Importance of Early Detection
There are no symptoms. You don’t feel any different. Though some individuals are more at risk than others, it can afflict anyone. It can sneak up on you and steal your most valuable asset... your eyesight. Glaucoma, undetected, can eventually lead to blindness.

In the past, ophthalmologists would suspect a problem based on certain telltale signs such as elevated intraocular pressure or a decrease in ones peripheral vision, but by then, glaucoma could already have done significant damage to eyesight. With today’s advanced technology, we have the ability to foresee potential problems well before glaucoma sets in.

At Eye Associates of San Diego, we utilize one of the most technologically advanced pieces of ophthalmic diagnostic equipment used today. The OCT or Ocular Coherance Tomography is a sophisticated system that can visualize te individual layers of the retina. We can now directly measure structures in the retina that are susceptible to glaucoma damage at a very early stage, before symptoms arise.

That image and analysis then becomes a part of your permanent medical record. On future visits, we can compare images, note any changes, analyze, precisely diagnose, and recommend treatment.

Early detection and treatment is the only way to combat vision loss caused by glaucoma.

If you’ve noticed change in your vision, or if you haven’t been to the office for a while, and would like to be tested for glaucoma, contact us to set up an apointment today.

Glaucoma tests

We will do the following tests and exams during a comprehensive glaucoma evaluation:
Measure the pressure in your eye (tonometry)
Testing your eye pressure is an important part of a glaucoma evaluation. A high pressure reading is often the first sign that you have glaucoma..
Inspect your eye’s drainage angle
Gonioscopy allows us to get a clear look at the drainage angle to determine the type of glaucoma you may have.
We will inspect your optic nerve for signs of damage using an ophthalmoscope, an instrument that magnifies the interior of the eye. Your pupils will be dilated (widened) with eyedrops to allow us a better view of your optic nerve.  As glaucoma damages the optic nerve, the appearance of the optic nerve changes.
Test your side, or peripheral, vision
The visual field test will check for blank spots in your vision. The results of the test show if and where blank spots appear in your field of vision — including spots you may not have even noticed.
Measure the thickness of your cornea — the clear window at the front of the eye
The thickness of the cornea can affect eye pressure readings, pachymetry is used to measure corneal thickness.  A probe called a is gently placed on the cornea to measure its thickness.