There are numerous tests your eye doctor can use to identify signs of glaucoma. Some are a part of most routine eye exams. At Loudoun Eye Care, we offer comprehensive glaucoma screenings conducted by an ophthalmologist who specializes in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of this serious eye condition.
Why Is Glaucoma a Big Deal?
Glaucoma is a leading cause of irreversible blindness. Because it often causes no noticeable symptoms, it is critical that everyone receives regular glaucoma screenings by a qualified eye professional. It is estimated that 50% of those with glaucoma aren’t aware of it. Vision loss caused by glaucoma tends to develop slowly and gradually, so it may go undetected until the vision loss is significant. Any vision loss that occurs due to glaucoma cannot be restored. However, when glaucoma is identified early on, you can preserve your vision and prevent future vision loss.
What Is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is an eye disorder that affects the optic nerve, which is the part of the eye that carries information about the images we see to the brain. Glaucoma most often occurs when fluid builds up in the eye. This increases pressure on the optic nerve, which can damage it, leading to impaired vision and blindness.
How Glaucoma Is Diagnosed
Glaucoma screening is part of a comprehensive eye examination at Loudoun Eye Care in Ashburn, Virginia. In addition to visual acuity and visual field tests, Dr. George Char will dilate your pupil to better examine and identify possible damage to the optic nerve at the back of your eye.
Tonometry allows Dr. Char to measure the pressure inside your eye. This is typically done either with a puff of air or a special device, both of which apply a small amount of pressure on your eye after you’ve received numbing eye drops. What is considered normal pressure inside the eye is different for everyone. Having annual glaucoma screenings allow your eye doctor to identify any deviations from what is normal for you.
Additional tests that may be recommended if glaucoma is suspected include:
- Optical coherence tomography (OCT) – an imaging tool used to evaluate the condition of your optic nerve at the back of the eye; you simply look into the lens of a device and it scans your eye without touching it
- Gonioscopy – a mirrored contact lens is gently placed on the eye to allow your doctor to assess the area where fluid buildup is most common in the eye (where your cornea meets the iris)
- Pachymetry – a special probe is gently placed on the front of the eye to measure the thickness of your cornea (thinner corneas are associated with an increased risk of glaucoma)
These tests are quick and painless and can be performed in your ophthalmologist’s office.
There is currently no “cure” for glaucoma. However, there are numerous types of treatments that can address the reason for your glaucoma. For example, medicated eyedrops can improve fluid drainage from your eye – or it can decrease the amount of fluid your eye produces. Oral medications may also help.
Outpatient laser therapy can help open up clogged areas within the area that are contributing to fluid buildup and pressure in the eye. Several different types of microsurgery can be performed that will help fluid drain from the eye. These are also same-day procedures that can be performed in a minimally invasive manner for an easier and faster recovery.
Glaucoma Screening in Ashburn, VA
If glaucoma is detected during your screening at Loudoun Eye Care in Ashburn, Virginia, Dr. Char will develop a treatment plan based on your specific needs. Call us at (703) 723-8988 to schedule your glaucoma evaluation, or simply request an appointment now.