Precise Diagnosis and Treatment for Glaucoma
Glaucoma is a primary cause of vision loss in America, but fortunately this eye damage is not an inevitable part of diagnosis. When glaucoma is detected early during a comprehensive eye exam by your Copperas Cove eye doctor, we can also begin treatment early. And the sooner you begin treatment for glaucoma, the more positive your prognosis.
Although there is an increased risk for glaucoma in people over age 40, we include glaucoma screening as a part of our thorough eye exams for all adults who visit our Copperas Cove optometry practice. This is the most dependable way to diagnose glaucoma before any problematic symptoms appear.
Does glaucoma present symptoms?
The main characteristic of glaucoma is elevated pressure of the intraocular fluid. However, this is not something that you will be able to feel. In fact, glaucoma doesn’t generally present any symptoms noticeable by patients during the early stages. Usually, by the time an individual notices the signs of glaucoma, there is already irreversible vision damage. Yet, our advanced glaucoma screening with multiple diagnostic technologies will spot the early signs. That’s why routine eye exams with glaucoma testing are so essential to your long-lasting quality eye health.
How many types of glaucoma are there?
There are two types of glaucoma, and the most common form of this disease is called “open angle” glaucoma. Open-angle doesn’t’ caused any pain or discomfort, and your vision will stay normal for quite a while.
The second form of glaucoma, termed “angle-closure” glaucoma, can arise suddenly. Symptoms include blurry vision, headaches, nausea, eye pain, and seeing halos around lights. Angle-closure glaucoma is a medical emergency that demands urgent attention. With this type of the disease, intraocular pressure can climb rapidly and damage vision within a short time.
What are the risk factors for glaucoma?
- Aging, especially once you are over 40
- Family eye history – be sure to tell our Copperas Cove eye doctor if glaucoma runs in your family
- Use of steroid inhalers as asthma treatment
- Hispanic Americans, specifically in the elderly
- History of eye injury or trauma (this can lead to secondary open-angle glaucoma)
How is glaucoma diagnosed?
While the main indication of glaucoma is higher-than-normal fluid levels inside your eye, diagnosis is only confirmed with a comprehensive, dilated eye exam that inspects your optic nerve and retinal tissues. In order to accurately determine if you require glaucoma treatment from our Copperas Cove optometrist, we may use the following devices:
- Tonometry: this procedure measures intraocular pressure with a specialized tool that either blows a mild puff of air across the surface of your eye, or makes gentle eye contact with a blue-light probe.
- OCT Scans (Optical Coherence Tomography): these scans are an advanced form of digital imagery that maps your inner eye structure. Generally, we will perform OCT scans repeatedly over a number of visits in order to compare and analyze for changes. Differences in your results can provide significant diagnostic information about progressive glaucoma damage, which is very helpful for prescribing glaucoma treatment.
- Visual Field Testing: glaucoma typically damages peripheral (side) vision first, which is why people don’t always notice the onset of this disease. Visual field analysis gives us a clinical way to measure any vision loss outside of your center field.
What types of glaucoma treatment are provided in Copperas Cove?
No matter what type of glaucoma treatment we recommend, the goal is to lower or stabilize intraocular pressure. Ideally, reduced pressure will prevent damage to the optic nerve. Prescription eye drops are usually the first type of glaucoma treatment that we recommend for open-angle glaucoma. Vigilant compliance by the patient is the key to success with regard to eye drops – you must insert them regularly, according to your eye doctor’s instructions. Depending upon the severity of your condition and how far it has progressed, other medical therapies for glaucoma include pills, laser procedures, conventional surgery, or a combination of different treatments.
The only way to rule out or diagnose glaucoma is with a comprehensive eye exam. If our Copperas Cove eye doctor detects the signs of glaucoma, we will begin glaucoma treatment as soon as possible to prevent ocular complications and damage.