Glaucoma often is linked to a buildup of fluid inside your eye which causes increased pressure – intraocular pressure – which can damage the nerve that transmits images to your brain. Sometimes, however, you can develop glaucoma even with normal intraocular pressures. Thus, an effective screening for glaucoma should include tonometry, which checks the intraocular pressure in your eyes, as well as a careful examination of the optic nerve, which can only be accomplished with a dilated eye exam.
If necessary, Dr. Pallan may proceed with further studies such as visual field tests, measurement of the thickness of your cornea, and examination of other regions of the eye. The good news is that all of these diagnostic studies are completely painless and are done at our offices to save you travel time.
There are many types of glaucoma. The most common type, called chronic open angle glaucoma, has few symptoms until late in the course of the disease, when your vision begins to deteriorate. This type of glaucoma most often is accompanied by increased intraocular pressure which only can be noted through screening studies.
Another serious form of glaucoma is narrow angle glaucoma, where there is crowding inside the eye that causes the pressure to rise quickly. This quick rise in pressure causes pain and loss of vision that often is permanent. Symptoms may include blurry vision, halos around lights, and pain when going from a well-lighted area to a dark room. Dr. Pallan can identify if you are at risk for developing this type of glaucoma with a dilated eye exam.
Because there’s no way to restore vision lost to glaucoma, treatment focuses on preserving your vision by stabilizing or reducing intraocular pressure.
For open angle glaucoma, treatment typically involves prescription eyedrops that decrease fluid production and facilitate the release of fluid in the eye. Dr. Pallan also may recommend a treatment known as laser trabeculoplasty to control the pressure. In more severe cases, surgery may be necessary.
For narrow-angle glaucoma, Dr. Pallan typically performs a procedure using a laser to create an alternate path for fluid flow. This is usually curative.
If you have mild to moderate glaucoma and cataracts, a trabecular micro-bypass stent can be inserted at the time of surgery to better control your eye pressure long term. This may reduce or eliminate the need for glaucoma drops. Ask Dr. Pallan if you are a candidate for this adjunct procedure during cataract surgery.