When Should You See A Doctor for Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a common eye condition that often develops with age. Without timely treatment, it may cause a buildup of ocular pressure within one or both eyes and can have damaging effects, including vision loss. Even if glaucoma symptoms, such as blurry vision, aren’t present, it’s important to attend routine eye exams to screen for early indications of the condition. At Ophthalmology Associates of the Valley (OAV), our glaucoma specialists offer expert eye care for patients throughout the Los Angeles, CA area. Read on as our OAV surgeons explain when you should visit an eye doctor for glaucoma and how this eye disorder might be treated and managed.
What is glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a collection of eye conditions that impact the optic nerve, or the primary nerve that transmits information from the eye to the brain. While there are several types of glaucoma, this group of eye diseases is generally caused by an increase in fluid in the front portion of the eye. As the fluid collects or fails to drain properly, the pressure in the eye increases, placing damaging pressure on the optic nerve. The effects of glaucoma often occur on a gradual scale and can lead to vision impairment, and eventually, blindness. With routine glaucoma screenings and proper intervention, however, the risk of blindness can often be minimized and even prevented.
What are the symptoms of glaucoma?
Attending routine eye exams at OAV can allow for the early detection of glaucoma. But any symptoms that occur between visits should be evaluated as soon as possible. For many patients, glaucoma symptoms have a subtle initial onset. The condition generally does not result in pain or other significant effects until it is further along in its progression. While they may vary according to age, the type of condition, and other factors, glaucoma symptoms in Los Angeles, CA patients often include:
- Blurry vision
- Blind spots
- Tunnel vision
- Diminished peripheral vision
- Forehead or eye pain
- Redness in the eye
- Nausea or vomiting
How is glaucoma treated?
At OAV, our glaucoma specialists have a vast amount of experience in treating and managing all types of glaucoma conditions. The goal of glaucoma treatment is to reduce the intraocular pressure within the eye and prevent damage to the optic nerve. When glaucoma is diagnosed in the early stages, it can often be treated with prescription eye drops or other types of medications. Some patients, however, may require more advanced forms of care, such as glaucoma surgery.
When is glaucoma surgery necessary?
Glaucoma surgery may be indicated when eye pressure cannot be adequately controlled with medications alone, the condition has advanced, or when a medical emergency related to the presence of glaucoma arises. Our ophthalmologists offer a full range of glaucoma treatments and may perform laser treatments, minimally invasive glaucoma surgery (MIGS), or other surgical procedures to drain the fluid and relieve intraocular pressure. Some of the surgical approaches offered at OAV include:
- Glaucoma laser treatments, such as selective laser trabeculoplasty or laser peripheral iridotomy, may be recommended to help improve eye drainage or manage eye pressure when medications have not been effective.
- MIGS is a group of glaucoma surgeries performed for milder cases of the eye condition. Since they involve a less invasive approach, MIGS can often be performed relatively quickly and carry less downtime than traditional methods.
- Glaucoma surgery is designed to relieve pressure in the eye by redirecting the flow of intraocular fluid. This may be accomplished through a trabeculectomy, which creates a new channel in the eye to drain the fluid, or an Ahmed glaucoma implant, which is a valve placed within the eye to control fluid drainage and eye pressure.
Expert Treatment for Glaucoma in Los Angeles, CA
If you've noticed changes in your eyesight or have other symptoms of glaucoma, we encourage you to schedule a visit at Ophthalmology Associates of the Valley. The effects of glaucoma cannot be reversed, but we can help prevent further progression of the disease. Our expert eye surgeons are pleased to offer personalized glaucoma treatment from our Los Angeles, CA eye centers to help preserve your vision and maintain your quality of life.