Open-angle glaucoma is a disease of the eye that can slowly and painlessly cause permanent loss of vision. It rarely causes any symptoms until it’s in an advanced stage, which is why it’s known as the silent thief of sight. Glaucoma is a leading cause of irreversible blindness in the world. Dr. Jhaj is fellowship trained in glaucoma from Stanford University. He can spot the signs of glaucoma, is experienced in treating all stages of glaucoma, and can help stop vision loss.
What is glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a progressive disease of the optic nerve when the pressure in the eye is higher than the nerve can tolerate. Patients begin to lose their peripheral vision and over time this progresses inward. Patients with glaucoma rarely have complaints until the disease has advanced to the center of their vision; however, it is often too late to help at that point because the damage is not reversible. With early diagnosis by an eye doctor, there are many treatments available to stop glaucoma from advancing.
What can cause open angle glaucoma?
The nerve damage in glaucoma, in most cases, is due to an increased pressure in the eye. Pressure is maintained by aqueous humor or fluid in the eye that is constantly produced by a tiny gland in the eye – the ciliary body. This fluid flows between the iris and the lens, then out of the eye through a very small drain called the trabecular meshwork. Pressure in the eye is elevated for two main reasons: the trabecular meshwork drain is clogged and enough fluid doesn’t leave the eye, or the ciliary body produces too much fluid. This elevated pressure typically does not cause any symptoms and will silently damage the nerve.
Who’s at risk of developing Glaucoma?
Anyone can develop glaucoma, however some individuals are at higher risk for developing glaucoma. Those at highest risk are African American patients over the age of 50, Hispanic patients over the age of 65, patients with a family history of glaucoma, and patients with diabetes.
How to check for glaucoma
Thanks to advances in medicine, we have the ability to diagnose glaucoma earlier and more accurately. A typical evaluation includes a comprehensive eye exam where an eye doctor analyzes the nerve for damage and measures the pressure in the eye, which should range between 8 – 21 mmHg. Additionally, there are two other tests performed to accurately diagnose if you have the disease and what stage. First, an OCT nerve scan is used to detect subtle thinning/damage of the nerve. Secondly, a visual field is performed to test for areas of missing vision. Both of these tests are performed locally at our Victorville office.
How is glaucoma treated?
When diagnosed and treatment has begun, it is a lifelong disease that will require continuous management. We can control or slow the progression but unfortunately cannot reverse or cure glaucoma. There are many eye drops available and, depending on the severity, more than one medication may be needed.
If glaucoma can’t be controlled with medications, other procedures including Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT), Tube shunt surgery, and Trabeculectomy surgery are considered. Dr. Jhaj has also trained extensively in new, state of the art Microinvasive Glaucoma Surgeries (MIGS). With extensive up-to-date knowledge in all the treatment options available, Dr. Jhaj will be able to provide you with all the tools to help save your vision.