Accurate Glaucoma Diagnosis to Protect Your Vision

Up-close shot of woman’s eye and lashes from the side.  Dr. Peter Broberg, Dr. Halsey SettleDr. William McGlathery, and Dr. Ximena de Sabra use the latest technology and techniques to identify the signs of glaucoma, even when the condition is in its early stages. If you have glaucoma, we can develop a comprehensive treatment plan to preserve your vision. To learn more about glaucoma diagnosis and schedule a consultation at our Austin, TX practice, contact our office today.

Understanding Glaucoma

The fluid in the eye, the aqueous humor, needs to be able to circulate freely to keep the eye healthy and functional. When drainage channels become blocked, it can increase your intraocular pressure, interfering with the health of your optic nerve. If left untreated, glaucoma can cause total loss of eyesight.

There are two main types of glaucoma. More than 90 percent of glaucoma patients suffer from open-angle glaucoma, meaning that their channels have gradually become clogged, causing vision to slowly degrade. Closed-angle glaucoma occurs when the space between the iris and the cornea collapses, causing a sharp increase in pressure that often requires emergency attention.

Diagnosing Glaucoma

Most patients suffer from progressive open-angle glaucoma and often have no symptoms of the disease until it threatens their eyesight. Attending regular eye exams allows our ophthalmologists to identify the the early signs of glaucoma. To screen for glaucoma, our ophthalmologists will review your medical history, since certain conditions like diabetes or medications like steroids can put you at higher risk for this disease. Then, they perform a wide range of diagnostic tests, which may include:

  • Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT). We use our Zeiss machine to perform optical coherence tomography, a technique that uses specific light wavelengths to map the structure of your eye, allowing our doctors to look for any abnormalities in the drainage channels or optic nerve.
  • Tonometry. During this exam, we use a small tool to calculate your intraocular pressure.
  • Snellen Chart Reading. Since glaucoma can affect your optometric prescription, we perform this visual acuity exam to look for any changes, especially to your distance vision.
  • Pachymetry. Each patient’s eyes are unique, so a high tonometry reading for you may be normal for another patient. We use pachymetry to measure the thickness of your cornea to help us better interpret the results of your other tests. Generally, thinner corneas will be able to accommodate less pressure.
  • Ophthalmoscopy. Typically used as a follow-up test if your OCT or tonometry readings are abnormal, this exam allows the ophthalmologist to take a closer look at your optic nerve. Your doctor will apply dilating drops and use a lighted tool to assess your eye.
  • Perimetry. In its early stages, glaucoma can interfere with your peripheral vision, so our doctors use this field of vision test to check your vision range.
  • Gonioscopy. If your ophthalmologist suspects that you have glaucoma, he will perform a gonioscopy, which involves numbing your eyes and using a mirrored contact lens to examine the space between your cornea and iris.

Treating Glaucoma

Our doctors will create a customized treatment plan based on your needs, preferences, and the type of glaucoma. We may recommend medicated eye drops that encourage fluid circulation and decrease intraocular pressure. For patients with open-angle glaucoma, we can also perform SLT, or selective laser trabeculoplasty, during which one of our ophthalmologists modifies your drainage canals with powerful, precise laser technology. If you need manual (non-laser) surgery, we will refer you to our partner ocular surgeon for treatment.

Early Detection for Effective Treatment

To learn more about glaucoma diagnosis or schedule an exam with one of our ophthalmologists, contact our office today.  

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