The glaucoma service is a department within Eye Associates of New Mexico offering full-service Glaucoma related treatment by two fellowship-trained ophthalmologists combining 20 plus years of experience. All aspects of glaucoma diagnosis and treatment are covered using the latest in diagnostic and treatment modalities.
What is glaucoma?
The previous definition of glaucoma revolved around elevated eye pressure. In fact, an individual can have statistically normal pressures and still have glaucoma. And an individual can have statistically elevated pressures and never get glaucoma. Many nationally conducted studies indicate that the presence of optic nerve damage is the most accurate definition of glaucoma.
What are the symptoms of glaucoma?
Typically there are no symptoms. Damage occurs in a subtle fashion that many patients are unaware of the disease. The patient may experience a dimness of the vision or tunnel vision in the affected eye, but unfortunately, the glaucoma is often times very advanced at this stage.
So what does the doctor need to do to adequately evaluate me for glaucoma?
Your doctor will rely on multiple tests to help him/her assess your risk for glaucoma. Visual field testing: this test checks your peripheral vision to ensure that there is no optic nerve damage. Dilated examination: direct visualization of the optic nerve can localize areas of damage. Measurement of intraocular pressure: intraocular pressure is an important variable, however, it is not as emphasized as it was previously. Additional sophisticated tests are dependent upon each patient’s profile.
What can Eye Associates do for me?
Eye Associates is fortunate to have the only two glaucoma fellowship-trained ophthalmologists in the state, Dr. Frank J. Mares and Dr. Barbara Marsh. They have undergone extra glaucoma-specific training to specialize in medical, laser, and surgical management of all types of glaucoma. We have a state of the art glaucoma laboratory to perform all appropriate tests and a surgery center specifically dedicated to advanced laser and surgical therapy of the eye.
What can be done to cure glaucoma?
As of now, there is no way to cure glaucoma. However, it can be controlled. The nerve damage that occurs with glaucoma cannot be repaired. We know from many on-going nationally conducted studies that controlling eye pressure will halt or slow down nerve damage.
But I go to the Health Fair and they check my pressure. Isn’t that enough?
As noted above, patients can have either high or low intraocular pressures. Your eye doctor can comprehensively evaluate your eyes in order to be sure that no optic nerve damage exists. Screenings at health fairs may not be enough to rule out glaucoma.
Is there anything that I can do to prevent glaucoma?
Although we cannot prevent glaucoma, there are many things you can do to make sure that it is controlled. The most important step is to have your eyes appropriately evaluated for glaucoma. Early detection is crucial because optic nerve damage is permanent and cannot be reversed. Much can be done to control glaucoma, but if it is not appropriately detected, treatment cannot be initiated. Many times, patients only see doctors when they have problems. Unfortunately, when a patient has visual problems from glaucoma, it may be too late to effectively treat it. Early detection is crucial!
Can vitamin and alternative medicine prevent glaucoma?
This question cannot be answered as of yet. The National Eye Institutes have sponsored many nationally conducted studies that guide glaucoma therapy for all ophthalmologists in the United States. Research in vitamins has yielded good results for some ocular conditions such as Age-Related Macular Degeneration, however, there is no definitive evidence as of yet that vitamins specifically prevent glaucoma. Also, alternative medicine may be useful, however, we have no studies conducted in a controlled manner as with studies sponsored by the National Eye Institutes to specifically document prevention of glaucoma. Future studies may clarify the situation.