Glaucoma is the second most common cause of blindness globally, affecting over three million Americans. There’s no cure, but early intervention can preserve your vision and prevent the problem from worsening. At Central Florida Ophthalmology in Oviedo, Florida, ophthalmologist Dr. Jeffrey R. Golen, MD, takes a personalized, patient-centered approach to glaucoma care. Call Central Florida Ophthalmology (CFO) today to request treatment for glaucoma, or make your appointment online.
Glaucoma is a spectrum of eye diseases that damages the optic nerve. The optic nerve gathers visual information from your eye and sends it to your brain for interpretation.
Glaucoma is most common in people 50 and older, particularly those with high intraocular pressure. Glaucoma may run in one’s family.
Dr. Golen diagnoses and treats various types of glaucoma, including:
This is the most common type of glaucoma and is caused by a dysfunction in the drainage of fluid from the eye. It causes fluid to build up in the eyes, raising the eye pressure, and placing excess pressure on your optic nerve, which can cause damage over time.
This type of glaucoma occurs when your iris bulges outward, blocking off the drainage canals of your eye. Since the fluid can’t drain as well, your eye pressure increases. This can happen acutely or chronically, depending on the situation, and may require laser treatment.
This type of glaucoma affects people with normal eye pressure. It is thought this type of glaucoma may occur because of poor blood flow to the optic nerve.
Glaucoma most often has no symptoms, which is why early detection and diagnostic testing is so important. In more severe cases, symptoms may include:
Dr. Golen reviews your medical records, asks about your symptoms, and completes a comprehensive eye exam. He measures your eye pressure, dilates your pupils to check for optic nerve damage, and tests for vision loss.
Dr. Golen then performs four specialized screening procedures:
During pachymetry, Dr. Golen uses an ultrasonic tool to measure the thickness of your cornea –– the transparent tissue at the front of your eye. This measurement helps calculate your eye pressure with greater accuracy.
This test assesses the drainage angles of your eye and helps Dr. Golen confirm whether these angles are sufficiently open.
This test looks at the optic nerves from an anatomical perspective and is able to detect increased optic nerve cupping, as well as nerve fiber layer thinning, both clinical signs of glaucoma.
Perhaps the most important test for glaucoma, visual field testing checks for peripheral vision loss, one of the hallmark findings of glaucoma. In more severe glaucoma, the visual field loss can encroach on the center of the vision, having more severe implications for the patient.
There’s no way to reverse the damage caused by glaucoma, but intervention and routine checkups can prevent the condition from worsening. Typically, Dr. Golen recommends prescription eye drops. He may suggest:
If prescription eye drops don’t reduce your eye pressure, Dr. Golen may recommend oral medications, laser therapy, or surgery.
Cataract surgery may also help glaucoma by allowing the angles (drainage area) of the eyes to open more fully. In addition, Dr. Golen offers minimally invasive glaucoma surgery (MIGS) at the time of cataract surgery, which is a class of less invasive surgeries that can help to lower IOP (intraocular pressure). These surgeries typically add some additional time to the cataract procedure, but they don’t require a separate trip to the operating room, which is ideal for patient convenience.
Call the practice of Dr. Jeffrey Golen today to learn more about glaucoma treatment, or book your appointment online.