If you've been diagnosed with glaucoma, you'll need regular eye care. Left unchecked, glaucoma can cause irreversible blindness. An ophthalmologist can provide the treatment you need to manage your condition. Here are four things ophthalmologists can do for glaucoma patients.
1. Check your corneal pressure.
Glaucoma is a condition that occurs when there's too much pressure inside your eyes. The extra pressure can strain your optic nerve, causing irreparable damage over time. An ophthalmologist can check your corneal pressure using an ocular tonometer. The tonometer will blow a small puff of air at your eye, which will allow your eye pressure to be tested and recorded. Your eye doctor will take new eye pressure readings every time you visit their office for an appointment. If your glaucoma is severe, your doctor may prescribe you a small, handheld tonometer for home use, which will allow you to monitor your own eye pressure.
2. Suggest lifestyle changes.
Your overall blood pressure can affect the pressure in your eyes. Lowering your blood pressure can help you manage your glaucoma. Your ophthalmologist will make suggestions that can reduce your eye pressure naturally, which should be the first step in any treatment plan. You may be asked to cut back on caffeine. Some patients find success by switching to decaf if they usually drink regular coffee. Eating fewer salty, fatty foods and getting regular exercise can also help you regulate your eye pressure.
3. Prescribe medication.
Medication can also reduce your eye pressure. Your ophthalmologist may prescribe oral pills or eye drops. Unlike eye drops designed for dry eyes, whose function is to increase moisture in the eye, eye drops for glaucoma reduce your eyes' moisture production. When less fluid builds up in your eyes, your ocular pressure will naturally decrease. Your ophthalmologist may also prescribe medicine that will help the liquid in your eye drain more quickly.
4. Perform surgery.
Surgery is another treatment option for people whose glaucoma can't be managed through lifestyle changes and medication alone. Since fluid buildup is the cause of ocular eye pressure, glaucoma surgery is done for the purpose of increasing drainage. Your ophthalmologist will put a small tube inside your eye which will allow the fluid to drain. You will be awake for this surgery, but local anesthesia will be provided so you won't feel any pain. You should be fully recovered within six weeks of your surgery.
For more information, contact an ophthalmology center like Idaho Eye and Laser center.