Glaucoma in Seattle, WA

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Glaucoma is a set of conditions that can deteriorate the eye's optic nerve, which has the important job of sending visual impulses to the brain. If not treated early enough, glaucoma will often lead to tunnel vision and/or complete blindness. It is virtually always due to high intraocular pressure from fluid buildup. Glaucoma primarily impacts those past 60 years of age. Today, about two million individuals in this country have glaucoma, many of whom are undiagnosed. Early on, glaucoma has no obvious symptoms and is commonly referred to as the "silent thief." Although there is no cure for the condition, it may be controlled via early diagnosis and the appropriate treatments.

This condition is an important reason why having comprehensive eye exams a minimum of every two years is critical to your overall eye health. At SPEX, we have state-of-the-art diagnostic methods and are extensively trained in the most advanced management methods. If you are over 40 years old, call us at our Seattle, WA practice to plan your comprehensive exam.

 

All cases of glaucoma are caused by damage to the optic nerve. This damage is caused by increased intraocular pressure from eye fluid retention. In normally functioning eyes, the fluid required by the eye tissue can flow back and forth through a remarkable tissue, the trabecular meshwork, which supports the area between the iris and the cornea. For some patients, this flow can be obstructed or much too slow, which leads to built-up fluid.

The two main kinds of glaucoma are categorized based on the condition of the trabecular meshwork and the size of the pathway between the cornea and iris. If the fluid buildup is caused by a malfunction within the trabecular meshwork, it is called open-angle glaucoma. In contrast, if the retention is occurring due to the space between the cornea and iris being too tight or obstructed, this is called narrow- or closed-angle glaucoma. Research data has proven that glaucoma caused by intraocular pressure is often inherited. In addition to heredity and the aging process, more factors that can impact intraocular pressure include excessive use of corticosteroid eye drops, having very thin corneal tissue, being Hispanic, Asian, or African American, and having certain health conditions, for example, high blood pressure. It is important to note that glaucoma can be related to problems other than eye pressure. When this happens, it is considered secondary glaucoma, as it is a symptom of a separate, preexisting condition.

Dr. Campbell does several key tests to determine if a patient has glaucoma. Each of the tests is painless, relatively easy, and over with quickly. First, he will expand the pupils and maybe anesthetize the eyes using eye drops. Most of the time, these tests will include assessing the pressure inside the eye (tonometry) and the thickness of the cornea (pachymetry), looking at the size of the space between the cornea and iris (gonioscopy), examining and digitally imaging the appearance of the optic nerve, testing the patient’s degree of outer (as opposed to central) vision, and testing for any regions of vision loss.

This is the first time I've had fun at an optometrist appointment. I played a light video game thing to test for glaucoma, got a cool scan of my eyeball showing the nerves and retinal attachment, and another scan to check eye-related brain tissue. Dr. Campbell explained every procedure and result and seemed excited that I had questions, unlike some other places I've been too that seem to be trying to push patients through as fast as possible. Dr. Campbell also used the minimum necessary amount of eye dilation liquid, so I was able to go right back to computer work without needing sunglasses inside. Overall, best optometrist experience I've had in 16 years of having glasses. Go here.

J.M. Google

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At SPEX, we often have consultations with patients living with glaucoma and are happy to support them in managing the condition. It’s important to know that getting a diagnosis and treatment in the initial stages of this condition can allow you to keep your symptoms under control. Dr. Campbell recommends that anyone who has these symptoms, has a family history of glaucoma, or who has already been diagnosed with glaucoma schedule an appointment at his Seattle, WA facility.

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