Glaucoma Specialist
The leading cause of blindness in the United States, glaucoma can cause an irreversible loss of vision. Fortunately, if the disease is caught early, treatments are available which can relieve the pressure glaucoma causes, preventing irreversible blindness. If you believe you may have glaucoma, contact Ophthalmologist Jane Semel, MD, from Semel Vision Care and Aesthetics. She provides treatment plans to men and women in El Segundo, California, and the greater Los Angeles area so they don’t lose their vision to glaucoma.

Glaucoma Q & A

What is glaucoma?

Glaucoma is characterized by the buildup of pressure inside your eye that causes damage to the optic nerve, which transmits images to the brain. If glaucoma goes untreated, it can cause permanent blindness in only a few years. Because patients with glaucoma often experience no symptoms or pain, those who are over the age of 40 should get a full eye exam from Dr. Semel once every 1–2 years. Those with a family history of glaucoma, or those who have diabetes, may need more frequent appointments, as they carry a higher risk of contracting the disease.

What causes glaucoma?

The pressure glaucoma causes, called “intraocular pressure,” begins to damage the optic nerve to the point where it can no longer function correctly. When the liquid in the front of your eye doesn’t circulate the way it should, it begins to build up. Typically, this fluid, called “aqueous humor,” drains through a channel in the eye. When it can’t drain, and it builds up, it causes intense pressure.

There are two types of glaucoma: open-angle glaucoma and angle-closure glaucoma. Open-angle glaucoma occurs when the drainage system in your eye appears functional, but the aqueous humor isn’t draining. Angle-closure glaucoma occurs when the iris blocks the aqueous humor from draining.

However, these are not the only things that can cause glaucoma. Many things can, including:

  • Severe eye infections
  • Blocked blood vessels
  • Inflammatory conditions
  • Eye surgery

How is glaucoma treated?

Because the damage caused by glaucoma cannot be reversed, getting treatment as soon as possible is important. Treatments for glaucoma relieve the intraocular pressure that’s causing damage to the optic nerve. To treat glaucoma, Dr. Semel may recommend:

  • Prescription eye drops to improve how the eyes drain fluid
  • Oral medications, such as a carbonic anhydrase inhibitor, to reduce eye pressure
  • Laser surgery to open the drainage system

For acute angle-closure glaucoma, you need treatment immediately. Because the iris is blocking the liquid from draining, Dr. Semel may perform a laser peripheral iridotomy, which creates a small hole in the iris and allows the liquid to drain.

The best treatment plan is a preventive one. Maintain regular eye appointments with Dr. Semel so she can stay on top of your visual health. Contact Semel Vision Care and Aesthetics today.

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Jane Semel, MD
390 North Sepulveda Boulevard
Suite 1100
El Segundo, CA 90245