Picture of Val Zudans, M.D.

Val Zudans, M.D.

Board Certified Ophthalmologist


What Do You Call A Deer With No Eyes?


Dear Valued Patients,
Glaucoma is a stealthy disease of the optic nerve, where prolonged high pressure can lead to irreversible damage. Like blood pressure, we can’t feel our eye pressure, making early detection challenging. Primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG), the most common type, often progresses silently, with no symptoms until irreversible nerve damage has occurred. The optic nerve, much like the cable for your TV, is the only connection between your eyes and your brain.
POAG requires preventive management. However, eye pressure alone isn’t enough for diagnosis, as individuals have varying pressure sensitivities. Some with elevated intraocular pressure (IOP) have ocular hypertension (OHTN) but don’t develop glaucoma, while others, despite statistically normal pressures, develop normal tension glaucoma (NTG), leading to nerve damage.
Ophthalmologists use specialized tests like optic nerve scans (OCT), photography, and visual field tests to monitor changes over time. The hallmark signs of glaucoma include optic nerve thinning, increased cupping, and peripheral vision loss.
Early diagnosis is crucial, as nerve damage is irreversible. Fortunately, modern treatments like selective laser trabeculoplasty (SLT), prescription eye drops (often blood pressure meds in drop form), and minimally invasive glaucoma surgeries (MIGS) offer effective management. MIGS, often combined with cataract surgery, safely lowers eye pressure with minimal added risk.
Regular eye exams, especially for those with a family history or suspicious optic nerve appearance, are essential. Without testing you will have no-eye-deer—prevention and early intervention are key to preserving your vision and quality of life!
Warm regards,
Val Zudans, M.D.

More to explorer

Why do ophthalmologists live ten years longer than other physicians?

Did you know that approximately 25% of people with no ocular symptoms have underlying conditions requiring management? A simple screening visit can detect various eye disorders, including eyelid skin cancer, cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration, diabetic eye disease, and more—many of which can be asymptomatic.