What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a condition that is commonly caused by a higher than normal pressure inside the eye. This can potentially affect the optic nerve, located in the back of the eye, and lead to vision loss if left untreated. It usually occurs when fluid builds up in the front part of your eye. That extra fluid increases the pressure in your eye, damaging the optic nerve.
Glaucoma can be detected through tests and managed by an ophthalmologist.
Glaucoma screening & Testing
Early detection through regular and complete eye exams is the key to protecting your vision from damage caused by glaucoma. A comprehensive eye exam includes various tests to accurately diagnose glaucoma. It is important to have your eyes examined regularly as for most people there are usually few or no symptoms of glaucoma. At Rockville Eye Physicians, we check for glaucoma through comprehensive dilated eye exams, eye pressure checks, and various tests. We perform the following tests for early detection of glaucoma:
Humphrey Visual Field
The visual field test is commonly used to detect and track the progression of glaucoma over time. During this test, brief flashes of light that circumvent a central light are shown one at a time while the patient presses a button each time he or she sees a light flash. This helps the machine map how much of the visual field the patient is able to see.
Ocular Coherence Tomography (OCT)
The OCT machine is also a commonly used machine for glaucoma testing. This machine is able to take cross-sectional images of the optic nerve that is located in the back of each eye. By regularly having these OCT scans done, in addition to other in-office testing, the development or progression of glaucoma can be closely monitored.
The Fundus Photo machine can take photos of the interior lining of the back part of the eye. The camera is capable of zooming in on the structures located in the back of each eye, including the optic nerve. This provides the doctors with an actual image of the optic nerve that is located in the back of each eye, along with various other important structures.
Pachymetry is the measurement of the thickness of the cornea, the clear window on the front of the eye.
It is performed when the cornea is thinner than average or the eye pressure is higher than normal because patients may have an increased risk of developing glaucoma.
Gonioscopy is performed during the eye exam to evaluate the internal drainage system of the eye, also referred to as the anterior chamber angle. The "angle" is where the cornea and the iris meet. This is the location where fluid inside the eye drains out of the eye and into the venous system. Under normal circumstances, the angle cannot be seen on exam. A special contact lens prism placed on the surface of the eye allows visualization of the angle and drainage system.
Glaucoma Treatment & surgery
While there is no cure for glaucoma, it can be treated and managed upon diagnosis. This can be done through prescription eye drops that will help control the eye's pressure if taken as directed. If a patient is also considered a good candidate for it, a laser surgery, known as Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT), may be a viable option should both the patient and physician agree on this route.
Glaucoma is usually controlled with eyedrop medication. Used every day, these eye drops lower eye pressure. Some do this by reducing the amount of aqueous fluid the eye makes. Others reduce pressure by helping fluid flow better through the drainage angle.
Rockville Eye Physicians offers several types of surgeries to treat glaucoma. They help aqueous drain from the eye. These procedures are usually done in the ophthalmologist’s office or an outpatient surgery center.
This is for people who have angle-closure glaucoma. Our doctors use a laser to create a tiny hole in the iris. This hole helps fluid flow to the drainage angle.
Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT)
This surgery is for people who have open-angle glaucoma. The eye surgeon uses a laser to make the drainage angle work better. That way fluid flows out properly and eye pressure is reduced.
Goniotomy is a surgical procedure to improve the outflow of fluid from your eyes. An opening is made in the trabecular meshwork, the group of tiny canals located in the drainage angle, where fluid leaves the eye. The new opening provides a way for fluid to flow out of the eye. Goniotomy may help to control the pressure in the eye with fewer medications.