If you are in Reading, PA, and looking for ophthalmologists specializing in glaucoma treatment and surgery, look no further than the highly skilled glaucoma experts at Eye Consultants of Pennsylvania. We will evaluate your symptoms and provide treatment that can help preserve your vision.
Eye Consultants of Pennsylvania is the leading ophthalmology practice in Berks, Schuylkill, Lebanon, Lancaster and Montgomery counties, and we have offices in Reading (Wyomissing), Pottsville, Pottstown and Blandon, PA.
What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that cause damage to the optic nerve, the nerve that transmits images from the eye to the brain so that we can see. Most of the time, the nerve damage comes from high pressure inside the eye which is caused by a backup of fluid.
The eye is nourished by a clear fluid (called aqueous humor) that circulates inside and is constantly returned to the blood stream by what is called the trabecular meshwork, or the eye’s drainage canals. The production, circulation and drainage of this fluid are ongoing and necessary for the health of the eye.
When something goes wrong with the drainage canal and the fluid is unable to leave the eye as fast as it is produced, pressure inside the eye begins to build. This excess fluid pressure pushes against the delicate optic nerve. If the pressure stays too high for too long, permanent vision loss can occur.
Two of the most common forms of glaucoma are primary open-angle glaucoma and angle-closure glaucoma.
How Do We Detect Glaucoma?
There are a variety of diagnostic tools that help us detect whether or not you have glaucoma — even before you have any symptoms. They include:
- Tonometry: Eye drops are used to numb the eye. Then he or she uses a tool called a tonometer to measure the pressure within your eye. The test is painless and quick.
- Pachymetry: The pachymeter is a tool that measures central corneal thickness. Your doctor will first numb your eyes and then use this small ultrasonic wave instrument to measure the thickness of your cornea. This is an important measurement because recent studies have found that thin central corneas are a strong predictor of developing glaucoma in patients with high intraocular pressure.
- Visual field test: This test measures your peripheral (side vision). It helps your doctor determine if you have lost any peripheral vision, one of the signs of glaucoma.
- Ophthalmoscopy:Using an instrument called an ophthalmoscope, your eye doctor can look directly through the pupil at the optic nerve. Its color and appearance can indicate whether or not damage from glaucoma is present and how extensive it is. This technique is still the most important tool for diagnosing and monitoring glaucoma.
- Gonioscopy: Eye drops are used to numb the eye. Then the doctor uses a diagnostic tool to determine if the angle between the iris and cornea is narrow and closed (a possible sign of angle-closure or acute glaucoma) or wide and open (a possible sign of open-angle, chronic glaucoma).
There are new, highly sophisticated image analysis systems available today to evaluate the optic nerve and retinal nerve fiber layer, the areas of the eye damaged by glaucoma. This technology shows great promise, but has not yet evolved to replace ophthalmoscopy.
Some forms of glaucoma may not cause vision loss for many years. Don’t wait for symptoms to occur before visiting an ophthalmologist specializing in the disease in Reading, PA, such as Eye Consultants of Pennsylvania. Early diagnosis and treatment can minimize loss of vision before the glaucoma becomes too advanced.