Visionary Eye Doctors provides advanced treatment options to effectively manage glaucoma and prevent severe damage to the optic nerve.
Visionary Eye Doctors is Now Offering $750 Off LASIK! Schedule a LASIK Consultation Today!
Early detection through regular and complete eye exams is the key to protecting your vision from damage caused by glaucoma. A complete eye exam includes various tests to accurately diagnose glaucoma. It is important to have your eyes examined regularly as for most people there are usually few or no symptoms of glaucoma. At Visionary Eye Doctors, our physicians are board-certified ophthalmologists and are fellowship-trained in glaucoma. To learn more about our physicians, click here. Glaucoma is known as the silent thief of sight. Request to schedule a comprehensive eye exam appointment here.
The first sign of glaucoma is often the loss of peripheral, or side vision, which can go unnoticed until late in the disease. Detecting glaucoma early is one reason you should have a complete exam with an eye specialist every one to two years. To make the diagnosis of glaucoma, we take into consideration a number of factors, such as the appearance of your optic nerves and your eye pressures; the results of a number of diagnostic tests such as corneal thickness, nerve fiber thickness, and visual field testing; and risk factors for glaucoma such as your age, family history of glaucoma, race, and your general health. If glaucoma has been detected, it’s best to start your glaucoma treatment as soon as possible. We offer trusted glaucoma treatments in the Washington, DC, DC area.
Open-angle glaucoma – Also called wide-angle glaucoma, this is the most common type of glaucoma. The structures of the eye appear normal, but fluid in the eye does not flow properly through the drain of the eye, called the trabecular meshwork.
Angle-closure glaucoma – Also called acute or chronic angle-closure or narrow-angle glaucoma, this type of glaucoma is less common but can cause a sudden build-up of pressure in the eye. Drainage may be poor because the angle between the iris and the cornea (where a drainage channel for the eye is located) is too narrow.
At Visionary Eye Doctors, we offer innovative technology for early detection of glaucoma, such as visual field testing, visual evoked potential (VEP), and electroretinography (ERG) tests.
The term visual field refers to the area of a scene you can see with your eyes fixed on one location. For example, while watching a stop light, you may notice a car pulling up beside you in the next lane. Your peripheral vision enables you to see the movement of the car. The visual field is quite extensive when both eyes are working properly but with glaucoma, the field of view is reduced.
The OCT has the ability to capture images of eye tissue at a near individual cell level of resolution. In addition, it can show each layer of tissue in the eye allowing our glaucoma eye doctors to pinpoint the exact location of tissue damage. This sophisticated piece of equipment aids in the diagnosis and management of many ocular conditions, including glaucoma and macular degeneration. OCT is a safe, painless and quick procedure that does not require dilation of the pupils. A laser scans the retina, optic nerve, cornea, or anterior chamber in just a matter of seconds to provide our glaucoma doctors with detailed information regarding the microscopic details of the eye. Anyone who has glaucoma or is a glaucoma suspect would benefit from undergoing this diagnostic test.
Pachmymetry is the measurement of the thickness of the cornea, the clear window on the front of the eye.
When the cornea is thinner than average, patients may have an increased risk of developing glaucoma. Pachymetry should be performed at least once in a glaucoma patient’s adult life if eye pressure seems too low to explain glaucomatous optic nerve damage or if the eye pressure is higher than one would expect.
As advances in technology continue to change the field of eye care, Visionary Eye Doctors is proud to offer the very latest in eye disease management. To discover vision-related diseases in their earliest stages, we use the Diopsys® NOVA Vision Testing System. Through this state-of-the-art advancement in electrophysiological technology, we can effectively detect, diagnose, and monitor progress of treatment for conditions like glaucoma and macular degeneration at their earliest stages.
Our team makes use of both the VEP (Visual Evoked Potential) and ERG (Pattern Electroretinography) protocols to conduct objective, office-based vision testing. Before the process can begin, sensors are placed on the patient’s head similar to an electrocardiogram or EKG. With such a streamlined process, the Diopsys® NOVA technology provides the following advantages:
The VEP and ERG tests each measure a specific area of the eye to thoroughly assess the function of the visual system.
The Diopsys® NOVA-VEP measures the activity of the entire visual pathway. Results from this test can determine how well the entire visual system is functioning. This test can be performed on patients as early as six months or older to detect vision or optic nerve disorders. The VEP can also be used for patients who have developed neuro-visual problems following a traumatic brain injury or stroke. It can help determine if the optic nerve function is healthy or abnormal, as seen in multiple sclerosis and glaucoma.
With the Diopsys® NOVA-ERG system, our team can determine the patient’s retinal function, which allows them to identify potential disorders. When used along with other diagnostic tests, like the VEP, this can help differentiate between a retinal and optic nerve disorder. The ERG can help detect these signs at a cellular level for earlier detection and a more timely treatment.
Considering the fact that visual diseases may develop differently, both the VEP and ERG tests are customized to the patient to fully understand their visual health. The entire process takes around 10 minutes, after which time we have instant access to the test results. The Diopsys® NOVA testing systems have proven to be an invaluable addition to our practice.
With Visionary Eye Doctors, you have many options for glaucoma treatment in the Washington, DC, DC area. Prescription Eye Drops for glaucoma help maintain the pressure in your eye at a healthy level and are an important part of the treatment routine for many people. It is important to notify your doctor of any other medications you may be taking (including over-the-counter items like vitamins, aspirin, and herbal supplements) and about any allergies you may have.
Treatment requires monitoring eye pressure and measuring changes in the peripheral visual field. Controlling glaucoma usually means maintaining eye pressure at an acceptable level when there has been little or no loss of the visual field.
We are one of the few centers in the Washington, DC, DC metro area to offer our Glaucoma patients the Icare.
The Icare home tonometer is one of the first methods for 24HR monitoring outside normal clinic hours which may help identify IOP variations and spikes.
Self-tonometry with the Icare® HOME is designed to gather additional intraocular pressure (IOP) information by the patient. The device records IOP, date, time, eye and a quality score which is not displayed to the patient. The data is retrieved by a health care provider via Icare® LINK software.
Some of the most common procedures we offer to treat glaucoma include selective laser trabeculoplasty (SLT), laser peripheral iridotomy (LPI), trabeculectomy or shunt placement.
The treatment for glaucoma has come a long way. Today’s advanced technologies and procedures make it possible to diagnose and successfully manage this progressive disease. And while the overall goal of treatment has always remained the same — reducing intraocular pressure (IOP) and glaucomatous progression — Micro-Invasive Glaucoma Surgery (MIGS) is quickly becoming a widely accepted approach for treating mild-to-moderate glaucoma.
Glaucoma is primarily managed with prescription eye drops. If a patient’s glaucoma progresses or the patient stops responding to the eye drops, a surgical solution is offered. These surgical solutions are often highly invasive, require long recovery times, and could result in long-term complications.
As technology has progressed, less invasive techniques have emerged that have improved the safety profile for glaucoma surgery. This opened more surgical options for patients interested in effective glaucoma management which does not rely solely on the continuous use of prescription medication.
With the FDA approval of the iStent®, Micro-Invasive Glaucoma Surgery (MIGS) became a preferred approach to glaucoma management for many eye care professionals and their patients with mild-to-moderate glaucoma.
Now, with the FDA approval of iStent inject® – the smallest medical device known to be implanted in the human body—is made of two tiny stents that are designed to restore your eye’s natural ability to drain fluid out of the eye to reduce glaucoma pressure. Designed for cataract patients with glaucoma, iStent inject® is implanted at the time of cataract surgery. You won’t see or feel the iStent inject® stents after they are inserted, but they are designed to effectively manage your eye pressure.
Similar to cardiac stents used in patients with heart problems, the iStent opens pressure drainage channels in the eye, permanently treating glaucoma. To help control the increased pressure in your eye associated with glaucoma, iStent inject® creates two bypasses, or openings, between the front part of your eye and its natural drainage pathway to increase the flow of fluid. By creating the permanent bypasses through the primary blockage site (trabecular meshwork), iStent inject® is designed to:
• Improve your eye’s natural outflow to safely lower intraocular pressure
• Work continuously to improve the natural flow of fluid in your eyes
If you or a family member has glaucoma, please contact us today for a consultation to discuss whether iStent or other treatments for glaucoma are an option for you. You may fill out our web form, or if you prefer, call 301.896.0890 to schedule a consultation.
Selective laser trabeculoplasty (SLT) is a glaucoma laser procedure used to lower the pressure in the eye. SLT uses short pulses of low energy laser to target specific cells in the drainage system of the eye to stimulate improved function. Ultimately, the SLT procedure can slow or stop the risk of disease progression. The SLT technique is very gentle, and studies show that it does not damage the tissue of the drainage system. The treatment takes only a few minutes to apply, and there is typically no discomfort felt by the patient. Following the laser treatment, the patient usually continues any existing glaucoma drops.
Laser Peripheral Iridotomy (LPI)
If you’d like more information about glaucoma, or to schedule a comprehensive eye exam to check for glaucoma, please request to schedule an appointment today to receive the best in eye health care.
What test does the optometrist use to diagnose glaucoma?
Your optometrist can use a variety of tests for glaucoma, including a visual field test, a corneal thickness test, an angle test, optic nerve imaging, or an eye pressure check.
The visual field test allows your doctor to diagnose if you have lost any field of vision from glaucoma, how much you have lost, and the rate of glaucoma progression.
The eye pressure test is called tonometry. In the most common tonometry test, a tiny instrument contacts the surface of the eye after it is numbed with eyedrops. It is a quick and painless test for glaucoma.
Noninvasive glaucoma imaging tests may be used to monitor glaucoma progression. During this test, your pupils are dilated using eyedrops and the doctor photographs your optic nerve with a digital camera.
Learn more about glaucoma testing in Washington, DC, and Maryland.
How long does a glaucoma test take?
The OCT test that is typically used to test for glaucoma takes approximately 10 minutes for a baseline test. Repeat scans take approximately 5 minutes per eye. The glaucoma test is usually done during your annual eye exam.
Can glaucoma be prevented?
There is no way to prevent glaucoma; however, it’s possible to prevent blindness or significant vision loss from glaucoma if the disease is caught early.
It’s possible to slow the progression of glaucoma with glaucoma medications. These medications reduce intraocular pressure to prevent damage to the optic nerve. Surgical treatments can also reduce pressure. Some studies have also shown that moderate exercise three or more times per week can reduce IOP.
If you think you may have glaucoma, make sure to schedule a visit so we can help prevent the condition from worsening.
Is there a DIY home glaucoma test?
You may have heard of the “clicky test,” where patients are asked to click a button every time they see a spot flash on the screen. This test can be performed over the internet. While this simple, at-home glaucoma test can alert you to changes in your vision between eye exams, it should not replace regular visits with your eye doctor. The best way to diagnose glaucoma is with a visual field test administered by an optometrist or ophthalmologist.
Think you may be at risk for glaucoma or had irregular results in an at-home clicking test? Schedule an appointment to get a visual field test in our office.
Is glaucoma treatment covered by insurance?
Insurance coverages may vary, but treatment for glaucoma is usually covered by major medical health insurance plans, not vision health insurance plans. Under the Affordable Care Act, all qualified health plans must cover eye diseases such as glaucoma. To learn more about your health and vision plans and what they cover, visit your provider’s website. For more insurance information from us, check out our page on medical and vision insurance.
Is glaucoma testing and treatment covered by Medicare?
Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) covers glaucoma tests once every 12 months if you’re at high risk for glaucoma. You’re at high risk if one or more of these applies to you:
Your glaucoma treatment costs in Original Medicare:
If you require glaucoma treatment services more often than Medicare covers, or if you require glaucoma services that Medicare doesn’t cover, you may have to pay some or all of the costs. Our doctors are happy to answer your questions so you understand why we are recommending certain services related to glaucoma treatment.
How fast does glaucoma progress?
Fortunately, glaucoma typically progresses very slowly, over years. Without treatment, glaucoma can eventually cause blindness, though this is rare. If you think you might be experiencing glaucoma, make sure to schedule a visit to be diagnosed. The sooner you can be diagnosed, the sooner we can prevent your condition from worsening.
Does glaucoma cause blindness?
Glaucoma can cause blindness if left untreated, but it is rare. About 5% of glaucoma patients experience blindness. Sight impairment is more common and occurs in around 10% of patients. Fortunately, with proper glaucoma treatment and follow-up, most patients with glaucoma experience stabilization. Think you might be dealing with glaucoma? Visit our office to get a diagnosis so we can work to prevent your condition from worsening.