What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a common disease of age, although it can develop in children and young adults. There are many sub-varieties of Glaucoma, but there are five main category types such as: Glaucoma Suspect, Primary Open Angle, Normal Tension, Chronic Narrow Angle, and Acute Narrow Angle.

By definition, Glaucoma is defined as the progressive damage to the optic nerve in the eye.

The most common misconception with Glaucoma is that it is considered a diagnosis if only high intraocular pressure (IOP) is present, which is not always the case. In fact, many Glaucoma cases have low pressure.

It is for this reason that the work-up for Glaucoma involves numerous different analysis of the optic nerve and fluid outflow of the eye for proper diagnosis and analysis for Glaucoma progression. Of course, pressure is still a very important indicator that is typically used as a measuring tool for the disease, but its definitely not the only measurement used for diagnosis and treatment.

Newsom Eye has successfully treated the various forms of Glaucoma including:

These are the most common types of Glaucoma in addition to Normal Tension Glaucoma. Many doctors and patients mistake high Intraocular Pressure (IOP) for Glaucoma, which is not always the case. Newsom Eye can quickly diagnose the various types of Glaucoma and get you on the road to recovery.

Concerned About Glaucoma? Newsom Eye Can Help.

Are You a Glaucoma Suspect?

A glaucoma suspect is a patient that presents with one of many possible risk factors. Newsom Eye performs a complete work up to determine if the suspect has Glaucoma. Much like diabetes and high blood pressure, it is sometimes difficult to diagnose Glaucoma immediately. Studies are needed to confirm the diagnosis or label the individual “watch patient”. Even if a patient does not have elevated pressure, other symptoms, or any family history of Glaucoma, Newsom Eye can make the determination.

A standard work-up for a Glaucoma suspect involves asking family history (very important), prior eye medical care (has this been discussed before or testing performed?) and getting a proper technician and doctor work-up.

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Debra Schrils Discusses Glaucoma

The video below was a previous television interview featuring Dr. Newsom and his Glaucoma patient Debra Schrils. This is something everyone should see…

South Tampa resident Debra Schrils suffered from a serious case of Glaucoma. The normal eye pressure is under 20 and Debra’s eye pressure was 55! There was a very high risk for loss of vision.

Her regular physician referred her to Dr. Newsom on New Year’s Eve 2 years ago. Naturally concerned about her elevated pressure, Dr. Newsom worked to first reduce the pressure using medications. Comfortable with the results, she went home for the evening and was asked to return on New Year’s Day, January 1st, to re-check the pressure. Debra’s eye pressure was stabilized using the medications.

Two weeks later, Dr. Newsom was able to implement a laser corrective surgical procedure that reduced the pressure and permitted Debra’s life to return to normal, no longer in need of those many medications to control her eye pressure.

The Right Test for Glaucoma

Newsom Eye offers several different Glaucoma testing techniques, and each one provides more information about the health of the eye. Testing can be quite extensive as the team at Newsom Eye aims to learn as much as possible about each patient, and the progression of the disease.

  • Visual Field This is required to analyze and document the peripheral vision of the patient. Peripheral vision is what glaucoma damages over time.
  • IOP Intraocular pressure. Increased pressure in the eye is usually present in patients who develop glaucoma, though high pressure alone does not cause glaucoma.
  • Gonioscopy will typically be performed on the first visit to Newsom Eye, or soon thereafter. This technique examines the location on the eye where fluid drains out. Many glaucoma patients do not have normal anatomy at this location, and Gonioscopy can be a key to successful treatment.
  • Optic nerve photography is also very important to the team of professionals at Newsom Eye. This technique provides photographic evidence of the optic nerve itself. As with the diagnosis of cancer, photographs are an invaluable method of detecting Glaucoma.
  • HRT or Optical Coherence Tomorography (OCT) are the modern technologies that Newsom Eye uses to laser scan the nerve fiber layer of the optic nerve. This not only analyzes against a database for disease, but also stores the findings for future reference with the patient to detect even the slightest progression of the disease.
  • Pachymetry is used to measure the central corneal thickness which we now know is an important data point of reference for glaucoma risk
  • VEP (Visual Evoked Potential) – is used to measure the electrical activity in the vision system. Electrodes are placed on the forehead and then the patient will be asked to look at a screen similar to a television screen, with various visual patterns to measure pressure of the optic nerve.
  • ERG – measures how well the retina is working. An ERG useful in evaluating both inherited (hereditary) and acquired disorders and helps determining whether surgery is necessary.

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Glaucoma Treatment Options

Newsom Eye offers more than one treatment of Glaucoma including conventional daily eye drops, observation and diagnostics. In addition, Newsom Eye offers a safe and effective laser treatment that is covered by most medical insurance policies. Laser trabelculoplasty or SLT is performed is more effective at lowering the pressure inside the eye. This advanced laser treatment can keep a patient off expensive medication and has virtually no side effects. See below for a video on the SLT procedure and more information about the treatments available at Newsom Eye.

Gonioscopy: This is an important test where a mirrored, handheld device is used by the doctor to look at the drainage channel in the patient’s eye. 3 mirror gonioscopy lens and a view inside the eye
Visual Field: This is required to analyze and document the peripheral vision of the patient. Peripheral vision is what glaucoma damages over time. Humphrey Visual Field
Photos of the Optic Nerve: Glaucoma damages the optic nerve, therefore pictures are taken to watch for changes in this important tissue. Digital Retina Camera
Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT): Perhaps the most important and technologically advanced instrument available for glaucoma, this instrument provides an optical analysis of the nerve with stunning accuracy. Zeiss OCT instrument and scan
Serial Tonometry: Intraocular pressure, or the pressure in the eye, varies throughout the day and is a critical measurement in glaucoma. Multiple pressure measurements are necessary to record the variation and help understand this condition. Pressure test
Pachymetry: This is a newer test that standardizes the pressure reading for patients by measuring the thickness of their cornea. Corneal Pachymetry