Glaucoma Treatment in Huntington Beach
19671 Beach Blvd. Suite 400 Huntington Beach, California 92648
Clarity Eye Group’s talented, experienced eye care specialists offer an extensive array of leading-edge procedures, including glaucoma surgery in Orange County. Over the years, they have helped numerous Orange County glaucoma patients, including individuals from Huntington Beach, Newport Beach and Long Beach, slow or halt the progression of glaucoma by performing advanced surgical procedures. Please explore the paragraphs below to learn more about glaucoma and treatments offered at Clarity Eye Group’s offices.
Glaucoma: What Is It?
Glaucoma, a leading cause of blindness, is a disease in the eye characterized by damage to the optic nerve. While it is commonly associated with aging, glaucoma is not limited to the elderly and can appear in both children and young adults. The disease often occurs when the natural fluids in the eye are unable to drain properly, causing the intraocular pressure (IOP) in the eye to increase. Over time, this elevated IOP can damage the optic nerve, leading to the development of glaucoma. If left undetected or untreated, glaucoma can lead to severe vision loss and blindness.
Not every person with elevated eye pressure will develop glaucoma. Some eyes can tolerate higher levels of pressure better than others. Whether a person develops glaucoma depends on the level of pressure their optic nerve can tolerate without being damaged. The level can be different for each person. Therefore, a diluted examination by your eye care professional is very important to help determine what level of eye pressure is normal for you.
Types of Glaucoma
There are two main types of glaucoma: The most common type, called open-angle glaucoma, affects more than 3 million Americans. With open-angle glaucoma, fluid from the eye drains slowly between the iris and cornea, increasing IOP. This type of glaucoma usually starts in one eye, but progresses to the other eye in time.
Closed-angle glaucoma occurs when the opening between the iris and the cornea is too small. This makes it hard for fluid to drain properly, resulting in increased IOP.
What Are the Symptoms of Glaucoma?
Open-angle glaucoma develops slowly and usually does not cause any noticeable symptoms in its beginning stages. Gradually, open-angle glaucoma may cause the partial loss of peripheral vision. In the most advanced stages, it can cause “tunnel vision,” which is the complete loss of peripheral vision.
Closed-angle glaucoma causes severe symptoms, including eye pain, headaches, nausea, vomiting, blurry vision, halos around lights and other visual disturbances.
Glaucoma Treatment in Orange County
While glaucoma treatments cannot cure the eye condition, they can slow or even temporarily halt its progress. In most cases, the first line of defense against the spread of glaucoma is the use of medications intended to lower IOP in the eye. The medications can be applied topically in drop form. If the medications fail to solve the problem, the next step is often glaucoma surgery.
Glaucoma surgery is designed to lower the amount of pressure in the eye by improving the eye’s ability to drain its own fluids. While laser surgery is now a popular route for surgeons to take, traditional glaucoma surgery is still an option for glaucoma patients who have high levels of intraocular pressure or damage to their optic nerve.
As some of the most highly experienced Orange County glaucoma specialists, Clarity Eye Group’s surgeons perform various forms of glaucoma surgery, including:
Trabeculoplasty. A laser is used to remodel the eye’s drainage system to improve the outflow of fluid from the eye.
Iridotomy. A small hole is made in the iris for eyes with narrow angles to create a new pathway for the fluid to flow out of the front chamber of the eye if the natural drainage system gets blocked.
Recovering from Glaucoma Surgery
Taking good care of yourself after any surgery, including surgery to treat glaucoma, is important. When you have accurate information about recovery, you can significantly reduce the risk of complications after your procedure.
Your glaucoma surgery will probably be performed on an outpatient basis, so expect to recover in the peace and comfort of your home. Our team will give you comprehensive post-operative instructions based on your specific treatment plan.
Generally, it takes about three to six weeks to recover from glaucoma surgery. Your specific recovery timeline depends on the specific surgery you have, your age, health and other factors.
On the day of and the day after your surgery, clear your schedule. Take those days off from work, do not make social plans and run errands ahead of time so you can focus your energy on recuperating.
We will ask you to avoid heavy lifting, bending over or straining for a few weeks. It may be helpful prior to your surgery to arrange the items you will need at arm’s reach so you do not need to bend over or strain to access them. Or, have a loved one or caretaker during your initial recovery to help you with meal preparation, laundry and other household tasks.
Precautions to Take After Glaucoma Surgery
Pain after glaucoma surgery is uncommon. It is generally safe to take Tylenol for discomfort, but if you have questions about other pain medications, give us a call.
Our doctors will ask you to use certain eye drops after surgery to prevent infection or inflammation. Please use your drops as instructed; if you have trouble inserting the drops, ask a loved one for help. You can also reach out to us for tips on using the drops as directed.
Blurry vision and other visual effects are common in the days following surgery, which may affect your ability to drive safely. We recommend that you arrange for someone to drive you to and from any doctors’ appointments and run necessary errands.
Another common aftereffect of glaucoma surgery is eye fatigue. You may discover that your eyes get tired after prolonged periods of time watching television, reading or using your smartphone. This is normal and we encourage you to nap or rest your eyes when they feel overtired.
If you experience the following symptoms, please let us know:
- Eye redness or swelling
- New or severe pain
- Pus or discharge from the eye
Refrain from strenuous activities for the first few weeks after surgery until we give you the go-ahead. Walking is generally okay, but running, cycling, swimming and weightlifting can put unneeded pressure on your healing eyes.
We will schedule a few follow-up appointments in the days and weeks following your surgery to check your healing progress, evaluate your intraocular pressure and answer your questions. Try not to skip any appointments and to take all of your medications as prescribed. Many of our patients are able to reduce the number of drops they use over time, thanks to glaucoma surgery.
Am I a Good Candidate for Glaucoma Surgery?
You may be a good candidate for glaucoma surgery if you:
- Cannot control intraocular pressure with eyedrops or oral medication
- Experience serious side effects from eyedrops or medications
- Are taking medications or supplements that interact with glaucoma eyedrops or medications
- Develop angle-closure glaucoma (which must be treated immediately)
- Have a narrow drainage angle and are at risk of angle-closure glaucoma
- Experience signs of progressing glaucoma despite normal intraocular pressure levels
The eye doctors at Clarity Eye Group are the best resources to help you determine whether you are a good candidate for glaucoma surgery. They can also recommend which procedure would be of most benefit to you based on the circumstances of your case.
Can glaucoma hurt you?
If left untreated, glaucoma can cause irreversible vision loss. Angle-closure glaucoma can cause other painful symptoms such as headaches, eye pain, nausea and upset stomach.
How long after glaucoma surgery will it take to recover?
How quickly you recover from glaucoma surgery depends on factors such as the procedure performed, your age and your health.
Can I go blind from glaucoma?
In rare cases, glaucoma can cause legal or total blindness. Visual impairment is more common in glaucoma patients that blindness.
Can I drive home after my appointment?
Your doctor can advise whether it is safe for you to drive home from an appointment, depending on what took place during the visit. If your eyes were dilated for an exam, you may feel comfortable enough to get behind the wheel. If you undergo a laser or surgical procedure, you will not be able to drive yourself home from the surgery and must have a friend or family member drive you.
Will glaucoma treatment dry out my eyes?
The use of glaucoma eyedrops can cause dry eye symptoms.
When will I see the full effects of my surgery?
Depending on the severity of your condition and the procedure performed, it may take several weeks to see the full results of your surgery.
Does insurance cover glaucoma surgery?
Whether insurance covers glaucoma surgery depends on the insurance provider and the surgery itself. Most major medical health insurance plans cover treatment for glaucoma.
Can you prevent glaucoma?
Although there is no known way to completely avoid getting glaucoma, you can reduce the risk of glaucoma-induced vision loss by taking several steps:
- See your eye doctor regularly to check for signs of glaucoma or monitor existing glaucoma
- Take any medications as prescribed to reduce or control intraocular pressure
- Avoid smoking
- Exercise regularly
- Avoid eye injuries by wearing protective eyewear when playing sports or working on household improvement projects
Contact Clarity Eye Group
For more information about the diagnosis or treatment of glaucoma, please contact Clarity Eye Group today.