We provide advanced glaucoma care in Norfolk, VA
Glaucoma is an eye disease that involves elevated pressure of the fluid inside your eyes. As this condition progresses, it can seriously damage your optic nerve and lead to irreversible vision loss. When left undetected and untreated for even a few short years, glaucoma can cause blindness. That’s why you need to visit your eye doctor regularly for comprehensive eye exams and expert glaucoma management in Norfolk, Virginia! Using modern technologies, we include precise glaucoma testing as a part of your complete eye exam. If you are diagnosed with glaucoma, we offer advanced treatments to preserve your quality vision.
Does glaucoma cause symptoms?
Usually, glaucoma attacks your side (peripheral) vision first. That’s why most people miss the early warning signs of glaucoma. Unfortunately, once you detect problems with your vision in your central field, it means that the glaucoma has probably been present for a long time.
However, while you may not notice any early symptoms of glaucoma, your eye doctor can see the signs during an eye exam! We use state-of-the-art diagnostic tools in our eye care clinic to spot glaucoma way before the patient can see it. This is critical because the earlier the diagnosis of glaucoma, the earlier you can benefit from glaucoma treatment, and the better your prognosis.
Who gets glaucoma?
Anyone can get glaucoma, which is why comprehensive eye exams are essential for everyone. However, there are specific risk factors that raise your chances of developing this eye disease, such as:
- Age; people over 40 are at a higher risk
- Family eye history; tell our eye doctor if any family members have glaucoma
- High blood pressure
- Having asthma that is treated with steroid inhalers
- History of eye injury or trauma (can cause secondary open-angle glaucoma)
- Being Hispanic American
Glaucoma Care in Norfolk, Virginia: Testing
The primary sign of glaucoma is increased intraocular pressure, but there are additional symptoms that our eye doctor can detect, which may appear on your optic nerve or retinal tissues. Specialized glaucoma testing procedures include:
- Tonometry – to measure intraocular pressure, our eye doctor will either place a small probe gently on the surface of your eye or use a specialized tool to gently blow a puff of air across your eye. A high result from either of these types of testing indicates a problem with the fluid pressure in your eye. Yet, this measurement is not enough to confirm glaucoma.
- Digital Imagery & OCT scans – Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT scans) or a different method of digital imagery can be used to create images of your optic nerve. These imaging techniques are repeated over time, so your eye doctor can compare the results to identify changes. Differences may indicate progressive glaucoma damage.
Glaucoma Management in Norfolk, Virginia: Treatment
The essential goal of all glaucoma treatment is to lower or stabilize intraocular pressure. Ideally, this will prevent damage to your optic nerve.
- Glaucoma treatment without surgery – medicated eye drops are the typical frontline treatment. It is critical to apply these drops according to your eye doctor’s instructions.
- Surgical treatment for glaucoma – if prescription eye drops or oral medicine isn’t effective at lowering intraocular pressure, surgery is the next option. Surgery may also be considered when the medicine causes severe side effects, such as hypertension or rapid heartbeat, or when the eye pressure is already dangerously high. Laser surgery is the type most commonly performed, and while all involve using a beam of intense light to unclog drainage tubes and help release fluid from your eyeball, there is a variety of types of laser treatments. Your eye doctor will determine the most suitable, effective type of laser surgery for your condition.
Is glaucoma testing covered by insurance?
If you have already been diagnosed with glaucoma or you are considered at high risk for developing glaucoma, medical insurance typically covers glaucoma testing once every 12 months. To find out how your coverage applies, contact our staff at Southern Eyecare Associates, we’ll be happy to explain your cost.
Are there things to avoid if I have glaucoma?
Yes! It is known that certain foods and activities can increase the symptoms of glaucoma. For example:
- Minimize eating trans-fatty acids, which can damage your blood vessels. These fats are found in fried foods and many purchased baked goods; avoid foods with ‘partially hydrogenated oils’ in the ingredients list.
- If you have any particular food allergens, such as dairy, soy, corn, and wheat, it’s best to avoid them.
- Don’t eat foods high in saturated fats, such as lard, fatty cuts of red meats, shortening or butter. Choose olive oil for cooking instead.
- Don’t overdo it on coffee or any caffeinated beverages. Too much caffeine can increase intraocular pressure.
- Don’t smoke, it can raise your blood pressure and increase eye inflammation.
- Stay hydrated, but drink fluids slowly by spreading them out through the day and sipping small amounts. Drinking too much at once can strain your eyes.
- It’s important to exercise, but not by doing anything that puts your head in a lower position than your body – so avoid the inverted yoga pose. (It’s best to sleep in a position that raises your head too.) Also, scuba diving and bungee jumping should be avoided because they can elevate eye pressure.
- Don’t miss your regular eye exams! The only way to diagnose glaucoma and get the sight-saving treatments you need is by visiting our eye doctor for expert glaucoma care in Norfolk, Virginia. Call today to book an appointment.