Dr. Melanie Hom is a Board-certified comprehensive ophthalmologist with broad interests in caring for the eyes of patients of all ages in our Oakland office. She graduated from Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons and completed her residency training in Ophthalmology at California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC) in San Francisco.
As an eye specialist, Dr. Hom is able to diagnose and successfully treat disorders of the eyes and visual system. She is an expert in advanced cataract surgery and uses the latest technology for correcting presbyopia and astigmatism during cataract surgery, so that patients may not need glasses following surgery.
Besides her expertise in cataract surgery, Dr. Hom uses laser to treat diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma, and a variety of medical treatments when surgery is not needed. She prescribes glasses and contact lenses for patients of all ages, who need to see more clearly for work, school, and recreation. Raised in Pleasanton, she now lives on the Peninsula with her young family. Dr. Hom is on the faculty of the Eye Department at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco. She teaches cataract surgery to resident physicians in the operating room and supervises their clinical work at the Lions Eye Clinic in San Francisco and at the Alameda County Medical Center in Oakland.
How would I know if I have glaucoma?
Unfortunately, glaucoma often causes no symptoms. Unaware that they have it, many people with glaucoma don’t seek treatment by an eye specialist and may lose vision as a result. Patients with glaucoma often have high intraocular pressure (not directly related to high blood pressure) that damages the optic nerve, which transmits visual information to the brain. In the brain, that information is integrated into vision. Glaucoma interrupts that process and can lead to blindness by damaging the optic nerve. With this eye disease, vision loss typically begins in the peripheral visual field and doesn’t affect central visual acuity until late in its course, sometimes after many years. Because it typically causes a slow loss of vision, glaucoma is sometimes called “the thief of sight”. The only way to know if you have glaucoma is to have a careful eye exam, including a check of intraocular pressure (the fluid pressure inside the eye) and evaluation of the optic nerve and peripheral visual field. At East Bay Eye Specialists, we’ll perform important other tests, such as gonioscopy to help determine which type of glaucoma you may have, and optical coherence tomography (OCT) to assess its severity and whether your glaucoma is progressing over time. The type of glaucoma you have and its severity help guide our treatment recommendations, which are tailored to your individual circumstances.
What kinds of treatment for glaucoma are available ?
For patients who need treatment, we’ll often prescribe an eyedrop medication to reduce the intraocular pressure. Frequently, an eyedrop medication is all that’s required to maintain a healthy eye pressure and protect the optic nerve from further damage. Sometimes, multiple different eyedrops may be required to bring the eye pressure to a safe, target level. Laser therapy may be useful to lower the eye pressure, as well. Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT) is the latest laser technology for this purpose, and often gives a sustained reduction of eye pressure for years. When this is not sufficient, incisional surgery may be necessary. While more invasive, these procedures are necessary when other treatments don’t produce a sufficient eye pressure reduction to protect the optic nerve and vision from further damage. Trabeculectomy and canaloplasty are two useful surgical techniques in this situation. Your East Bay Eye Specialists can help you decide which therapy for glaucoma is best for you.
For further information on Glaucoma you may view and download See our patient information brochure on Glaucoma. We also encourage you to review the information under the category of Glaucoma on our informational blog.