Glaucoma is characterized by higher-than-normal pressure of the fluid inside your eyes. As glaucoma progresses, this ocular disease can damage your eyes and lead to permanent vision loss. After only a few years without treatment, glaucoma can cause blindness. That’s why it is critical to visit our eye doctors for regular eye exams! In order to detect the early signs of glaucoma – before it causes any problems – we perform advanced glaucoma screening as a part of your comprehensive eye exams.
Early Diagnosis Enables Early Glaucoma Treatment
During the beginning stages of glaucoma, you may not notice any symptoms. Yet, using state-of-the-art diagnostics, our skilled optometrists will be able to spot the signs of glaucoma way before you do. We will then begin glaucoma treatment in our Washington, DC, office as soon as possible, which goes far towards a successful outcome. The sooner we begin treatment, the more successful it will typically be.
Risk Factors for Glaucoma
- Glaucoma is strongly associated with age, especially once you are over 40 years old
- Family eye history is significant – be sure to tell our optometrist if any members of your family have glaucoma
- People with high blood pressure or diabetes
- People with asthma who use steroid inhalers as treatment
- Hispanic Americans, particularly in older population groups
- History of eye trauma or eye injury (this can cause secondary open-angle glaucoma)
The primary indication of glaucoma is increased intraocular pressure. However, our eye doctor can detect other symptoms during a complete eye exam. In addition to measuring pressure levels, we will inspect your optic nerve and retinal tissues to make a solid diagnosis. These procedures include:
In order to measure intraocular pressure, our Washington, DC, optometrist will either place a small probe gently on the surface of your eye, or use a specialized tool to blow a mild puff of air across your eye. A high result from either of these tests points to a problem with the fluid quantity in your eye. However, this number does not provide our eye doctor with enough information to diagnose glaucoma.
Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT scans)
OCT or a different method of digital imagery is used to generate images of your eye’s optic nerve. This imaging technique is repeated over time, which allows us to compare the results and check for changes. Differences may point to progressive glaucoma damage; this information is important for determining the best glaucoma treatment in Washington, DC.
Generally, glaucoma attacks peripheral vision first. That’s why many people do not notice the symptoms for a long time. Unfortunately, once vision loss occurs in your central field of vision, it means that glaucoma has probably been present for a long while. Only regular eye exams can detect glaucoma before it reaches this severe degree.
Glaucoma Treatment in Washington, DC
The main goal of all glaucoma treatments is to reduce or stabilize intraocular pressure. Ideally, this will prevent damage to your optic nerve.
Our eye doctors typically prescribe medicated eye drops as the first line of glaucoma treatment. It is critical to insert these eye drops regularly, according to the instructions that your eye doctor provides. Depending upon how far the eye disease has advanced, possible treatments also include laser procedures, conventional surgery, or a combination of the above.
The only way to diagnose glaucoma is through regular eye exams! Call to schedule your appointment in our Washington, DC, eye care clinic today.
Your Washington Eye Doctor will also test for signs of macular degeneration as part of the comprehensive eye examination.