Glaucoma quietly develops for years without causing symptoms. By the time you notice a change in your vision, irreparable damage has been done to the optic nerve. Dr. Bryan Ma has extensive experience identifying glaucoma before you have symptoms, using advanced digital imaging to monitor its progress, and providing effective treatment to keep your eye pressure normal. If you have questions about glaucoma or notice a change in your vision, call the doctor’s practice, Bryan Ma, O.D. Optometry in Orange, California, or book an appointment online.
Glaucoma refers to a group of eye conditions that share one key characteristic: damage to the optic nerve. Although there are some exceptions, most cases of glaucoma are caused by high eye pressure.
Eye pressure, called intraocular pressure, is a natural pressure created by fluids inside each eye. Having just the right amount of pressure is important because it maintains the shape of your eyes.
New fluid is continuously produced and secreted into each eye. Your eyes keep the pressure steady by draining an equal amount of old fluid. But sometimes the drainage mechanism becomes blocked, allowing fluid to build up.
When there’s too much fluid in the eye, pressure builds and pushes against the optic nerve, causing permanent nerve damage that ultimately leads to vision loss.
Here’s the problem — glaucoma doesn’t cause symptoms during its early stages. Even though you won’t experience symptoms, your eye pressure can continue to stay high, causing ongoing damage to the optic nerve.
You’ll develop symptoms when enough of the nerve is damaged to interfere with your vision. At first, you’ll lose side vision, then you’ll gradually lose central vision, which blocks your ability to see straight ahead.
However, one type of glaucoma has different symptoms. In most types of glaucoma, eye pressure increases gradually over the years. In acute angle-closure glaucoma, eye pressure suddenly and rapidly rises.
Acute glaucoma causes symptoms such as eye pain, blurry vision, and a headache. It’s a medical emergency that needs immediate care to prevent nerve damage and vision loss.
Dr. Ma tests your eye pressure, then looks at the inside of your eye to see whether the optic nerve shows signs of damage. He may use Optomap® ultra-widefield retinal imaging, which takes a digital photograph of your eye, capturing nearly the entire retina in one panoramic image.
With this enhanced image, Dr. Ma can clearly see changes in the optic nerve. He can also store the digital image and compare it to future images to detect even the slightest change in the nerve.
Once you’re diagnosed with glaucoma, the first line of treatment is medicated eye drops to lower your eye pressure. Several different medications are available that work by increasing drainage, reducing fluid production, or both.
Throughout your treatment, you’ll receive ongoing testing to monitor your eye pressure and assess changes in your optic nerve. Dr. Ma also regularly performs a visual field test, which checks your central and peripheral (side) vision.
When medicated eye drops fail to control your eye pressure, you may need surgery to open the drainage pathway. The primary types of surgery include:
If it’s time to schedule an eye exam, or you’ve noticed vision loss, call Bryan Ma, O.D. Optometry or book an appointment online.