Glaucoma

Valdez Eye Center

Eye Physician & Surgeons located in Apple Valley, CA

Glaucoma can cause permanent vision loss, but early detection and treatment can reduce the pressure in your eyes and preserve your vision. The team at Valdez Eye Center in Apple Valley, California, includes glaucoma specialist Frank Lee, MD. Dr. Lee detects glaucoma and treats it using state-of-the-art surgical techniques. To schedule a glaucoma exam or learn more about treatments, schedule an appointment online or over the phone today.

Glaucoma Q & A

What is glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a disease of the optic nerves, which connect your eyes to your brain. Your optic nerves deliver visual information from your retinas to your brain, allowing you to see images. Glaucoma progressively damages your optic nerve and can cause blindness if left untreated.

The cause of glaucoma is a buildup of aqueous humor, the fluid in your eyeball. Your eyes need aqueous humor for a number of processes, including nourishing your corneas and regulating the pressure in your eye.

When aqueous humor can’t enter and drain from your eyes freely, it builds up, leading to excess pressure in your eye. As this pressure increases, your glaucoma worsens, gradually causing more and more damage to your optic nerves.

Glaucoma usually affects both eyes but not at the exact same time. One eye can have more pressure and, therefore, more damage than the other.

What are the signs and symptoms of glaucoma?

Glaucoma is known as the “silent thief of sight” because in its early stages glaucoma doesn’t cause any noticeable symptoms. Unfortunately, there are no signs you can look out for, such as discomfort or minor vision changes, that prompt you to seek treatment.

When glaucoma has a noticeable effect on your vision, that means it’s already caused permanent damage. It first causes patchy blind spots in your peripheral (side) vision. Left untreated, glaucoma will eventually lead to full blindness in one or both eyes.

Prevention is the most effective glaucoma treatment. Starting at age 65, you should get screened every two years as part of your regular eye exam. If the disease runs in your family, or if you have diabetes or high blood pressure, you should start getting screened earlier, as young as 40.

How is glaucoma treated?

Though there’s no way to reverse vision damage from glaucoma, don’t lose hope. Treatment can’t restore lost vision, but it can reduce eye pressure and prevent further damage. Of course, it’s more effective the earlier you catch the disease because you have more vision to preserve.

The team at Valdez Eye Center first treats glaucoma with prescription eye drops, which can either decrease fluid production in your eye or help fluid to drain, both of which will relieve pressure.

If eye drops don’t sufficiently reduce the pressure in your eye, the next step is surgery. Dr. Lee, the glaucoma specialist at Valdez Eye Center, performs surgery on-site using modern techniques that cause minimal discomfort. Surgeries include:

  • Laser surgery to improve the drainage angle in your eye, so that fluid flows in and out more easily

  • Microsurgery, which involves creating a new drainage channel by implanting a small tube or another device in your eye

With early detection, you can control glaucoma and preserve your vision. To schedule a glaucoma screening or to learn more about treatments, call Valdez Eye Center or book an appointment online.