Glaucoma detection and treatment
Not all eye doctors in California are licensed and trained to treat Glaucoma. Dr. Meredith Walton and all of her associates are certified to diagnose and treat this eye disease and are always learning the latest treatments and technology. Dr. Walton also has extensive experience in clinical research in testing for the presence of glaucoma.
Glaucoma is a disease that affects over 2.5 million people. Glaucoma gradually deteriorates peripheral vision and eventually can lead to total blindness if not detected and treated. It is most often caused by high eye pressure that damages the optic nerve. The optic nerve sends the vision signals to the brain. Once vision is lost, it cannot be restored so it is very important to check for glaucoma yearly at your annual eye exams. You have a higher risk of glaucoma if someone in your family has had the disease, you are over 60, or you have African or Latin American heritage.
If there are concerns about glaucoma our doctors will recommend extra testing to acquire baseline information in order to more closely monitor for the condition over time.
Baseline measurements of your eyes will include the following tests:
Eye pressure testing- There are many ways to check your eye pressure. The most common is the "air-puff" test which is usually not accurate. Our doctors will use either the i-Care device or the Goldmann device, both of which are safe, easy and accurate. The doctor may have you come back for multiple eye pressure measurements over a few months as eye pressure can fluctuate and can differ based on the time of day.
Retinal imaging- Imaging the optic nerve is extremely important, we will use a stereoscopic photo, which means the doctor can view it as a 3-D image. These images should be taken every 6 months to a year and compared with the original photo in order to detect any changes.
Optical Coherence Tomographer (OCT)- This specialized machine takes a scan of the nerve fiber layers of your optic nerve then it compares it to a normal database. The nerve fiber layers can thin with age over time but they thin faster in eyes that are developing glaucoma. This will also be compared over time and is typically repeated annually or ever 6 months.
Pachymetry: This is a simple quick test that takes the thickness of your cornea. The doctors's eye pressure readings can be affected by your corneal thickness. If your cornea is thicker than the average cornea the eye pressure measurements read falsely high. Vis-versa, if your cornea is thinner than the average the pressure measurements read falsely low. Also, having a thin cornea is a risk factor for developing glaucoma.
Gonioscopy- This test evaluates the drainage system that lets fluid out of the front portion of our eyes. If the drainage system is not working properly you may need a laser procedure to help decrease the pressure in your eye.
Visual Field testing: It is easy to check how well you see straight ahead by having you read letters on a chart, but your peripheral vision is more difficult to measure. This test measures the sensitivity of your peripheral vision and compares it to a normal result. More importantly, repeating the same test over time will measure if your peripheral vision is worsening due to glaucoma.
If you are diagnosed glaucoma, there are a lot of treatments to slow down the condition. The most common treatment is for you to use eye drops to lower the pressure inside your eye. Sometimes patients need a laser procedure to help decrease the eye pressure which you will be referred to a specialist for the procedure.
If you have questions or are concerned about glaucoma please contact Dr. Walton.