The silent thief of sight, glaucoma, develops when you have too much pressure in your eye, and it damages your optic nerve. Having routine eye exams with an experienced and board-certified ophthalmologist like Mitchell C. Latter, MD, is the best way to catch glaucoma early and get treatment before it permanently damages your vision. Dr. Latter provides comprehensive eye exams, including glaucoma screening, at his practice in South Pasadena, California. Call or schedule your next eye exam online today.

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What is glaucoma?

Glaucoma is an eye disease where excessive pressure in your eye damages your optic nerve and eventually leads to blindness.

There are several types of glaucoma, but the two most common forms are closed-angle and open-angle. These forms of glaucoma are identified by whether the drainage angles between your cornea and iris are blocked.

Closed-angle glaucoma develops when your iris covers the drainage angle in full or part, preventing fluid from draining from your eye. Closed-angle glaucoma often develops quickly into an attack where your vision is rapidly affected.

With open-angle glaucoma, the more common form of the disease, your drainage angles are unobstructed, but you may have a blockage deeper in your eye in the trabecular meshwork. Open-angle glaucoma develops more slowly.

Glaucoma doesn’t typically cause any symptoms before your vision is damaged, which is how the disease gets its “silent thief” nickname. However, your peripheral vision is usually affected first, and you may notice blurry or black patches. If you have closed-angle glaucoma, you may experience symptoms such as extreme eye pain, headaches, or blurred or double vision before or during an attack.

What causes glaucoma?

Your eyes continuously produce a fluid known as aqueous humor. Your eyes should allow old fluid to drain away as the new fluid is made. However, when your eyes don’t efficiently drain or makes too much of this fluid, it gets trapped in your eye, increasing the intraocular pressure. If this pressure isn’t relieved it damages your optic nerve.

How is glaucoma diagnosed?

Dr. Latter uses a variety of tests to screen for glaucoma. You may have had the “puff of air test” before, but Dr. Latter uses advanced technologies to provide a more accurate reading of your intraocular pressure, including a tonometer and state-of-the-art imaging technology that monitors your optic nerve. He may also use visual field testing to check for signs of peripheral vision loss. Electro-physiologic testing can also be performed to confirm the diagnosis.

How is glaucoma treated?

Dr. Latter provides a variety of treatments for glaucoma, depending on which type of the disease you have. For example, he may prescribe medicated eye drops to improve your drainage. In other cases, he may suggest surgery including non-invasive laser treatments or microinvasive glaucoma surgery (MIGS)  to open your drainage angles to preserve your vision.

If you’re concerned about glaucoma or are due for your next eye exam, call Dr. Latter or schedule an appointment online today.