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Glaucoma Treatment at Eye Care of La Jolla

Glaucoma affects millions of older men and women, and regular eye exams are critical for preventing vision loss. At Eye Care of La Jolla, Dr. David Michelson and Dr. Matthew Kirk use advanced techniques to diagnose and treat glaucoma in men and women throughout the San Diego area. Glaucoma doesn’t always have symptoms, so scheduling an exam with our doctors is the first step you can take to ensure lifelong eye health and avoid permanent loss of sight from glaucoma-related conditions.

What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is an eye disease that results in damage to the optic nerve, the nerve bundle that travels from the back of your eye to the brain and back, transmitting “messages” about what you’re seeing so those messages can be “translated” into actual images. The disease occurs when the natural fluid inside your eye doesn’t drain properly, causing the fluid to buildup and press against the nerve and causing damage that cannot be reversed.

How is Glaucoma Diagnosed?

Glaucoma is diagnosed during your comprehensive eye exam. We perform tests aimed at measuring the pressure inside the eye. Patients may require a dilated exam, which can enable Dr. Michelson and Dr. Kirk to look for changes that occur deep inside your eye when glaucoma is present. Glacuoma seldom has symptoms until vision loss occurs, making regular eye exams with Eye Care of La Jolla especially important.

Chart Illustrating a Normal Eye Compared to One With Glaucoma

There are several risk factors that make people more likely to develop glaucoma. Knowing your risk factors and having regular eye exams are two of the best ways to prevent glaucoma from developing.

The most common risk factor is older age; glaucoma rarely develops in younger people. Other common risk factors include:

  • Increasing intraocular pressure
  • Family history of glaucoma
  • Long-term use of steroid medications
  • Chronic medical issues including diabetes, thyroid disease and high blood pressure
  • Prior eye surgery
  • Presence of other eye disease or issues like tumors, chronic inflammation and retinal detachment

People of Asian and African descent also have a higher risk of developing glaucoma.

Yes, glaucoma can be treated! At first your doctor may treat your eyes with special eye drops or oral medications to help lower the pressure inside the eye. If those medications don’t work to lower the pressure of your eye, surgery may be used to correct drainage problems so the eye fluid doesn’t build up.

Like any eye condition, when found early, there are a number of treatment options available for our glaucoma patients. Medical and surgical treatment options can be useful to stop the condition from progressing and stealing your eyesight. Glaucoma treatment options offered at Eye Care of La Jolla include:

Glaucoma Eye Drop Treatments
(Lumigan, Alphagan or Combigan)

Prescription eye drops for glaucoma help maintain a healthy pressure in your eye and are an important part of the treatment routine for many people with glaucoma. Be sure to tell our team about about any other drugs you may be taking (including over-the-counter items like vitamins, aspirin, and herbal supplements) and about any allergies you may have. As with any medication, these eye drops have side effects which are tolerable for most patients. Sometimes, due to the general health of a patient, some types of eye drops cannot be given.

Surgical Treatments
Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT)

In Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT), laser energy is delivered to the drainage system of the eye, known as the trabecular meshwork. This treatment is extremely safe and well-tolerated by patients. The SLT technique is very gentle and studies show that it does not damage the tissue of the drainage system. This glaucoma treatment takes only minutes to apply and there is usually no discomfort felt by patients. Following the laser treatment, patients usually continue taking any existing glaucoma drops. After several weeks, a follow up appointment at Eye Care of La Jolla will be required to evaluate intraocular pressure. We will then determine how successful the procedure has been.

Glaukos iStent

The iStent Trabecular Micro-Bypass Stent System is designed for people with glaucoma who also have a cataract. iStent is the first minimally invasive glaucoma surgery (MIGS) device that improves your eye’s natural fluid outflow to safely lower eye pressure by creating a permanent opening in the trabecular meshwork. The tiny iStent is placed into the eye during cataract surgery; it is so small that you won’t be able to see it or feel it after the procedure is over. This small stent works continuously to control eye pressure and prevent damage to the optic nerve. The iStent is safe and effective option.

Endoscopic CycloPhotoCoagulation (ECP)

Endoscopic Cyclophotocoagulation (ECP) is a laser procedure performed at the same time or after cataract surgery. ECP has proven itself highly effective in reducing or eliminating the need to continue using glaucoma medications in the majority of patients who receive this treatment.
The ECP laser, particularly when combined with cataract surgery, is a minimally invasive and effective intervention for lowering intraocular pressure and controlling glaucoma. The recovery after the laser is typically rapid, similar to a person’s recovery after standard cataract surgery.


Surgical management of glaucoma has been forever changed with the introduction of minimally invasive glaucoma surgery (MIGS), allowing surgeons to better manage and control less advanced stages of glaucoma.

Gonioscopy is one of these MIGS procedures. Gonioscopy describes the use of a goniolens (also known as a gonioscope) in conjunction with a slit lamp or operating microscope to gain a view of the iridocorneal angle, an anatomical angle, formed between the eye’s cornea and iris. Gonioscopy is performed during an eye exam to evaluate the internal drainage system of the eye.

To learn more about glaucoma treatments in the Inland Empire, contact Eye Care of La Jolla today to schedule an eye exam.

Scheduling your glaucoma consultation or ongoing glaucoma treatment is fast and easy! Simply give us a call or request an appointment using the form below. Our friendly front-desk team will book your appointment with our glaucoma specialists. We accept a variety of major medical plans and Medicare.