Expert Care for Eye Disease by Our Eye Doctor in Los Osos and Paso Robles
Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness, yet vision loss and damage from glaucoma is not inevitable! If this eye disease is detected early by a comprehensive eye exam, treatment can be started early. And the earlier that you receive glaucoma treatment, the much better your prognosis. Although the risk of glaucoma is greater for patients over 40, our eye doctors in Paso Robles and Los Osos include glaucoma screening for patients of all ages who visit for a complete eye exam. This is the most reliable way to detect the early signs of eye disease.
Characterized by increased pressure levels in your intraocular fluid, glaucoma can eventually damage your optic nerve. After a few years without treatment, it can cause permanent vision loss. Glaucoma does not generally present symptoms during its beginning stages. However, our advanced glaucoma screening with multiple technologies will spot the signs. That’s why routine eye exams are critical for everyone. Call to schedule your eye exam with glaucoma testing in our Los Osos or Paso Robles eye care centers.
Two Types of Glaucoma
The most common type of glaucoma is “open angle” glaucoma, in which there is no pain or uncomfortable symptoms, and vision remains normal at the beginning. The second type of glaucoma, “angle-closure” glaucoma, can cause sudden symptoms, including blurry vision, eye pain, headaches, nausea, and seeing halos around lights. This type of glaucoma is a medical emergency that requires urgent attention, since the intraocular pressure can rise very high and damage your vision within a very short amount of time.
Risk Factors for Glaucoma
- Glaucoma is strongly linked to age, particularly once you are over 40
- High blood pressure
- Family eye history – it is important to tell our eye doctor if glaucoma runs in your family
- Use steroid inhalers as treatment for asthma
- Hispanic Americans, specifically in older population groups
- History of eye injury or trauma (this can lead to secondary open-angle glaucoma)
Glaucoma Testing Procedures
The main indication of glaucoma is higher-than-normal levels of the fluid inside your eye. Yet, during your comprehensive eye exam our eye doctor will be able to identify other symptoms that may appear on your optic nerve and retinal tissues. In order to ensure high diagnostic accuracy in our optometrist clinics in Los Osos and Paso Robles, we may use the following devices:
This procedure measures intraocular pressure. Our eye doctor will either administer a “puff test”, which blows a mild puff of air across your eye, or place a specialized probe (with a blue light) gently on the surface of your eye. If the results from either of these tests are high, you have a problem with the amount of fluid in your eye. However, glaucoma cannot be diagnosed entirely on the basis of tonometry; more diagnostic information is needed.
Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT Scans)
OCT scans are one type of digital imagery that our Los Osos and Paso Robles eye doctor may use to form images of your inner eye structure. Since this imaging is done repeatedly over a series of visits, we can analyze and compare the results – which is a reliable way to look out for changes. Differences in the images can provide important information about progressive glaucoma damage, and we can then treat it appropriately.
Visual Field Testing
Glaucoma typically attacks side (peripheral) vision first. This is one reason why many people don’t notice the onset of glaucoma. Yet unfortunately, once vision loss occurs in the center field, it means that the glaucoma has been present for a long while. Only routine eye exams can identify the early onset of glaucoma, and visual field testing is a helpful measure that your eye doctor may use.
With visual field testing, a light signal will be displayed in various areas of your peripheral vision, over and over. You will need to place your head in front of a machine, look ahead and provide feedback when you see the light signal. If you have already been diagnosed with glaucoma, this test will likely be repeated every few months. If your eye doctor notices any deterioration or new areas of vision damage, a change in your glaucoma treatment may be necessary.
Glaucoma Treatment in Los Osos and Paso Robles
The primary goal of glaucoma treatment is to lower or stabilize intraocular pressure. This will ideally prevent glaucoma from damaging your optic nerve. The first type of treatment that we will recommend for open-angle glaucoma is generally prescription eye drops. The patient must insert this medication regularly, according to the doctor’s instructions. Depending upon the severity of the glaucoma and how far it has advanced, other possible treatments include pills, conventional surgery, laser procedures, or a combination of both.
Remember- the only reliable way to diagnose or rule out glaucoma, as well as other eye diseases associated with aging (such as macular degeneration and cataracts), is through routine comprehensive eye exams with glaucoma screening. Contact our eye doctors in Paso Robles and Los Osos to schedule your appointment.
Our Paso Robles eye doctors offer diagnosis and treatment of many eye conditions, including macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma and cataracts.