Ling Bei, MD – Glaucoma Treatments

Ling Bei, MD – Glaucoma Treatments


– [Randy] You’re watching “The Wellness
Hour,” news that makes you healthier. I’m Randy Alvarez. Today’s topic, new treatment options for
people suffering with glaucoma. So if glaucoma runs in your family or if
you’ve been diagnosed with glaucoma or if you have any of the symptoms we’re talking
about today, you’re going to have to listen to what Dr. Ling Bei has to say. She is a fellowship-trained glaucoma
specialist, a board-certified ophthalmologist. And, Dr. Bei, welcome to the program. – [Dr. Bei] Thanks so much, Randy,
for having me. I appreciate the opportunity to talk about
glaucoma. – Now, for people that don’t know your
centers, Acuity Eye Group, who’s the typical patient? – So we actually see the whole gamut of
all patients from all ages throughout Southern California. Acuity Eye Group is actually the fourth
largest eye group in the entire country, and we’re really fortunate because,
in California, we have so many different centers which allows patients easy access
to any of our centers which allows patients easy access to any of our centers
basically from Northern California all the way almost down to Mexico. We really pride ourselves on the fact that
we’re efficient, we have the latest technologies, and we have some of,
we think, the best-trained physicians, optometrists, and other practitioners
within our group. Our goal is to really let patients have
easy access to us. We have 24-hour on-call doctors and we
have every subspecialty within ophthalmology,
so many people don’t know that even within the eyeball, there’s about six or
seven different subspecialties. We see everybody from little children,
kids from three or four years old, all the way up to anybody who’s in their
90s. I’ve actually had a 102-year-old patient
I’ve seen for some years. – Is that right? – Yeah. – Now, you know, my father…and how I
know about you because my father, you know, we looked up who’s, like,
the best of the best, and my father had his cataract surgery
with premium lenses, so now he could see distance and up close
and he’s 82 years old. – Right. – According to him, his whole life has
changed, but… So your role in the center is
what…because all you do is glaucoma? Because you guys treat everything, right? – We do, we do. We treat all subspecialties,
but my primary focus and my love is really glaucoma, and glaucoma is a
subspecialty within ophthalmology. And I certainly do cataract surgery but my
main goal is to see those patients with chronic glaucoma. – And we talked on the phone. You said early on, I mean,
you knew in medical school you wanted to focus on glaucoma. – Right. So it’s funny because everybody who goes
into ophthalmology, many of the people say that glaucoma is the most challenging
thing. And it’s really challenging for two
reasons. One is that people still to this day,
from a scientific point, don’t really understand why certain people
get glaucoma, and some people look at that ambiguity and say, “It’s something I don’t
feel comfortable with my patients discussing or treating or following up
on.” But I really look at that as a challenge. I look at that and say,
“This is an opportunity where we’re really on the forefront of trying to understand
the disease, and our patients are our partners in trying to figure out what are
the best treatment options.” The glaucoma patients I have are some of
my most loyal patients. I’ve seen some of them for 10 years. So I started with them early in training
in San Diego, and then as I finished, they actually followed me to my practice
in Orange County. So I see these people 3 or 4 times a year
and I’ve really built long-term relationships,
and I think that’s really unique in ophthalmology. There’s a lot of specialties in
ophthalmology that don’t get that opportunity to have that long-term unique
trusting relationship with the patient. – Now, with glaucoma,
and you’re a glaucoma specialist, do you need a referral from your regular
ophthalmologist or optometrist to see a glaucoma specialist? – That’s a great question, Randy. So the good thing is that you actually
don’t. I mean, patients, we love it when our
patients call us and say, “Hey, I just want another idea. I just want a second opinion. I heard this, I wasn’t sure if it was
true. Could I come by and just get another
opinion?” We love that idea. – Are there many people that have glaucoma
that have never…that means they’re under treatment maybe with drops only,
right? Are there many people that have never seen
a glaucoma specialist and they have glaucoma? – I would say the vast majority, Randy. – The majority? – Just like you said. So many patients with glaucoma,
they’ve had it for years or maybe they’ve had a questionable diagnosis with an eye
provider for years and they just say, “Well, I know this eye provider. They’re local to me. It’s hard for me to get out to XYZ city to
see a glaucoma specialist.” And they don’t realize that with our
group, you really have one in your backyard, most likely. – And Medicare covers this, right? – Medicare covers it. So it’s not something that requires a lot
of hoops, and hurdles, and authorizations. You can just talk to your primary care
doctor if you have an HMO, but if you have Medicare,
you can pick up the phone and actually call yourself. – So how big of a problem is glaucoma? I mean, how many people? Are there estimates of how many have it? – So we actually know that about 20
million to 30 million people in the United States have it,
which is a really huge number of people who are underdiagnosed. They’ve actually done studies that about
50% of people, half of all people, have glaucoma. By the time they get to an eye doctor,
they’ve already lost vision. So that’s a really high percentage and we
want those people to come in sooner. – What are the symptoms and what is
glaucoma? – Sure. So, glaucoma, think of it as kind of a
plumbing issue. – Really? Okay. – Yes. Think of it as just something as a
plumbing problem. So if you think of your eyes a kitchen
sink, a kitchen sink has a faucet and a kitchen sink has a drain. And the faucet is always on deep inside of
the eyeball, so the faucet is always making water. – So this faucet is keeping the eye
lubricated? – It kind of keeps the eye actually filled
with water. So if you think of it as like a balloon,
if you didn’t have that water fill up that balloon, that balloon would
deflate like a raisin, right? You want that balloon to actually be
inflated the whole time because that’s what keeps the shape of your eyeball. And so think of your eye as that kitchen
sink that’s filled with water by the faucet, and in order for that eye
to keep that round shape, there also has to be a drain to allow the
water to leave the eye. And there’s this constant balancing act,
water in, water out. Now, for reasons we don’t totally
understand, some people’s drains with time, aging, genetics,
a lot of other factors can scar. It can get damaged through other
procedures or through surgeries or through other diseases,
and their drain actually starts to slowly become more and more sluggish,
so the water that’s constantly being made has nowhere to leave. And if it has nowhere to leave,
then the pressure in the eye starts to build up as more and more water builds
up inside of the eye. – Interesting. So people with glaucoma,
and we’ve talked on the phone, you say some of them feel a lot of
pressure on their eye. And you’re saying so it’s a drainage
issue? – Exactly, exactly. And a lot of people actually don’t feel
the pressure because, strange enough, just like everything else in life,
you can adapt to it. So they can have high eye pressures for
many, many years and not even feel it and just think that this is just a normal
sensation in their eye. – So when you get this pressure,
what is happening to the eye? How destructive is it, I guess,
is my question. – Sure. So in the short-term, you know, glaucoma,
high eye pressure, you would think that it shouldn’t do any damage because maybe that
drain can still flush out a little of that extra water. But over time, what starts to happen is
that the water builds up more and more and it starts to squeeze on the nerve that
connects your eye to the brain. So think of that nerve as, like,
a toaster, for example. A toaster needs to work by having its wire
plugged into the wall. The eye works the same way. The eye has a nerve and that nerve plugs
the eye into the brain. So if that wire doesn’t work that plugs
your eye into the brain, that optic nerve, then that eye and the brain aren’t talking
to each other, just like a toaster wouldn’t work without the wire plugging it
in. – All right. – So if that pressure in the eye starts to
build up more and more, it squeezes on the nerve and the nerve
starts to slowly die, and that’s the end result of glaucoma. – So the dying nerve causes what set of
symptoms? – So the nerve itself as it dies,
for most people, they start to lose the far peripheral vision. – Peripheral vision? – Peripheral vision, exactly. And that’s why it’s very,
very hard for people to even detect it because when you start to lose your
peripheral vision, you’re not really aware of the initial symptoms. You can do most of your tasks,
you can read, you can watch TV, you can even drive, but you just know,
subliminally, there’s something not quite right. And, over time, if that high pressure in
the eye doesn’t get treated and the nerve gets more damaged, you actually lose more,
and more, and more peripheral vision until you see only a tunnel. And in the end stages,
when that tunnel vision doesn’t get treated with high eye pressure,
the tunnel just completely goes away. We call that snuffing out,
and that’s irreversible. – Give me a rundown of the obvious
symptoms of glaucoma. – So the most obvious symptoms that people
tell me are they have a nondescript feeling that their vision is just not
quite right. Their depth perception is off, so… – Depth perception? Okay. – Depth perception, exactly. So when they’re driving,
they may not feel like they know exactly how far to stop from the car in front of
them because they don’t know when to brake. That feels a little bit more uncomfortable
when they’re driving, trying to park into a parking space. The parking space doesn’t seem quite
centered. They’re hitting curbs when they’re
driving. People also tell me that they’re having
trouble, for example, like, on their cellphone. They used to be able to see right in front
of them on their cellphone. They could see the smallest print,
but now there’s this vague cloud over their vision that they just can’t
seem to shake out. And it doesn’t change throughout the day,
it’s just always there. – What are the current treatment options
and how have they changed? How have they progressed? I guess eyedrops are the number one way
it’s treated? – Well, that’s a great question, too,
Randy because one of the big issues is we tend to see people think that eye drops
are the only method, and now it’s actually becoming less and
less true. – Really? – Yes. So just this year, actually,
there’s two new eyedrops that are coming out. In 2018, there’s two new eyedrops that are
coming out, but as I have seen in most of my patients, especially the ones who
have had glaucoma for many years, they’ve actually wanted to go away from
eye drops. – Why? – Well, think about the time, the cost,
how you have to stop on your day. – So it’s out of pocket to get these
drops? – Yes. – Oh, okay. – So even if there’s coverage,
the copays can actually be very expensive. Most of my glaucoma patients are now on
generics, but even on generics, some of the copays are $20, $40 a month,
and if they’re on 2 or 3 eye drops, that’s a big cost to a lot of patients. So a lot of my patients actually tell me,
“You know, I don’t really want to be on eye drops forever. I don’t want to stop my day and look at
myself when I say, ‘Hey, I got to run. I got to go home because my eye drop is
sitting at home and I’m out to lunch.'” – These eye drops, so I understand,
you talked about the drainage of the eye. They help with the drainage to relieve the
pressure on the eye? – Exactly. – Okay, okay. – So they have to turn down the faucet
deep inside of the eye. So they either tell the eye to make less
fluid deep inside of the eye by turning down the faucet or they work almost like a
Drano. What they do is they push open that drain
to try to get more water out of the eye. And so those eye drops are very effective,
but in terms of a quality of life issue, which we think is the number one priority
for our patients, they become more and more cumbersome the longer you take them
and the more you have. – So what’s the answer? – So the answer is what you come up with
with your doctor. You really want to come in with your
doctor and say, “This is working for me. This is not.” I’m not saying that drops are for
everyone, but as we have come into this new generation of new glaucoma technology
and new surgeries, we want to have patients know that there are many,
many options now besides eye drops, including laser, including surgery,
including microinvasive surgery. All of these are now on the forefront of
new technologies that many didn’t even exist or weren’t FTA approved even 10
years ago. – Can we briefly go down one by one of
those lists? So, laser, how are you using laser to
maybe get people off drops? And are there people that were taking
drops and now they’re off drops? – Yes. – Really? – Yes. So laser is so easy to do because it’s
non-surgical, meaning you don’t have to go to an operating room. There is no anesthesiologist,
there is no recovery in terms of an eye patch, there’s no cutting,
there’s no bleeding. You go to your ophthalmologist’s office or
your glaucoma specialist’s office and you just come in, have a laser done which is a
contact lens placed on your eye for about two minutes. The laser is done without any pain,
without any bright lights, without any discomfort, and you go home. My patients just drive themselves home
because there’s no anesthesia and no pain involved. – But what is the laser doing to
stop…you know, to do what the drops were doing? – Right. So the laser is actually going right into
the drain deep inside of the eye. The laser basically pushes on the drain,
helps the drain remodel. So by pushing on the drain,
the drain starts to regrow, and when it does this regrowth,
we hope that the drainage holes are actually larger than the initial ones. If the drainage holes inside of the eye
are larger, that means that the water in the eye can leave more efficiently and
drop their eye pressure. – And so they go in, this is, like,
a 10-minute procedure? – Exactly. Really, five, yeah. – They go home and they no longer have
drops in many cases? – In many cases. So if you’re really only on one
medication, about 70% to 80% of my patients can go off it by just doing the
laser. – Now, look, the reach of this program is
more than 25 million people. So there’s probably hundreds of thousands
of people on drops that are watching this, right? – Right. – And maybe they…is this something they
know about? Like, they’ve heard about laser surgery,
maybe because it’s got surgery attached, they’re afraid of it. – Exactly. – Why aren’t they all trying it is my
question. – Some of it is… – Or at least getting evaluated. – Exactly. You know, some of it is really just
knowing that it’s available. A lot of doctors have this idea that,
“I want to try every single eye drop until they need laser.” And laser is seen as a last resort,
but a lot of new patients don’t need to think of it as a last resort. It can be used at any point. I’ve had young patients who say, “Look,
Dr. Bei, I go to work in the mornings and my
eyes are bloodshot red and my employees are asking me,
‘Why do you have such bloodshot red eyes,'” and they don’t want to take the
eye drops anymore and they’re in their young 40s and they just don’t want the
inconvenience or the hassle of putting these eye drops in. We can do laser off the bat. That is something that now we can actually
do. – Is it cash out of pocket for the laser
or is that also covered by Medicare or insurance? – It’s covered. It’s completely covered by insurance
because it’s medically necessary. – Okay. Good. So lasers work. Look into lasers if you’ve been diagnosed. – Yes, and talk to your doctor because not
all doctors have access to the laser. The machines usually sit at a surgery
center, so you have to go to a surgery center to get it. But ask your doctor what the availability
and what their access is. – Okay. Good. So next technology, surgery. – Yeah. – What is surgery doing? – So think about surgery as creating
another way for the water to leave your eye. If your own drain is not working and we’ve
tried different ways to either flush out the drain or remodel your drain and
your drain is still sluggish and not pushing that water out,
we have to basically create another artificial way for the water to leave the
eye. So about 20 years ago,
everybody was doing these big, I would say, more invasive surgeries. Meaning you have to go to a surgery
center, the surgery’s about an hour too long. We’re creating artificial holes in the
wall of the eye, we’re covering them with stitches, there’s going to be laser
involved afterwards. Often, there’s a recovery of maybe one or
two weeks and you’re going to see the eye doctor maybe once a week for about two
months. Those are pretty hefty commitments for a
lot of patients. And, today, now we have what we call
microinvasive glaucoma surgery or MIGS. And we have the latest technologies now
that we actually perform drain surgery. You still have to go to an operating room. There’s a lot less cutting,
there’s a lot less bleeding. We can put small stents into the eye, and,
basically, the stents bypass your own drain and create a new,
totally different drain. So think of it as maybe if you’re stuck on
the highway, and, gosh, we know because we’re in California. If you’re on the 405 and there’s no exit,
you’re just stuck, just like the water deep in your eye has nowhere to go. What we’re actually doing is we create a
whole different new exit right in front of you so that you can get off the highway
and get off this congestion. – And it works? – And it works. And patients do great. They have less follow-up, less eye drop,
and, in terms of their recovery, it’s really something where probably the
next day, the vision’s a little fuzzy. But by the end of the first week,
all my patients are back to work, they’re driving, and they just take some
eye drops until the surgery is healed. – Okay. So I want to make sure I’m getting this. Okay. So glaucoma which you lose your peripheral
vision… – You got it. – It’s caused by this water buildup in the
eye that pinches or does something to the optic nerve, so you start losing your
vision, and then slowly the optic nerve dies and you could go blind. – Exactly. – So all of these new technologies,
including the drops, they just help with the drain like Drano,
you say? – Right, right. – So now you have lasers,
you have surgical options to clear up the drain and they get back to normal. – Right. – Really? – Yeah. – But glaucoma patients are told?
Or all their options? What’s your take on that? I know you want to be nice and polite on
this program, but it seems like a no-brainer here. – Right. – But if you have glaucoma,
you’ve been given a diagnosis and they are hearing about all of these options. – Right. So I think what’s so tricky is that
because a lot of these technologies are newer I would say in the last 10 years,
a lot of doctors are still on a learning curve to try to learn how to do these
technologies. And I was fortunate enough that I was
trained in this latest generation where I feel pretty comfortable with a lot of
these minimally-invasive glaucoma surgeries, and I do those equally
in combination with some of the older surgeries that we’re used to that are more
invasive and require longer periods of healing. And that’s what we want patients to know
is that because there’s now this paradigm shift and there’s new levels of training
and new generations of technologies available,
you have to just ask your doctor what types of glaucoma surgeries you do because
not all glaucoma surgeons and not all ophthalmologists do the same surgeries. And they do them in different ways and
they don’t do some of the latest technologies. So we want patients to be proactive and
ask those questions. – So ask for a glaucoma specialist? – Yes. – That’s fair to say? – That is, for sure, fair. – So not all…so there’s ophthalmologists
that are treating glaucoma but they’re not a glaucoma specialist? – Right. – And it doesn’t cost more to go to a
glaucoma specialist. It’s covered by insurance. – It doesn’t. You’re totally right. And some of the ophthalmologists feel
comfortable maybe doing a laser or maybe they feel comfortable doing a stent. But about the six or seven other glaucoma
procedures that are minimally invasive out there, they basically don’t have all
of the background just like I don’t have all of the background to deal with my
retina or my other ophthalmology subspecialists do. We’re just very good at certain things
because we do them more frequently. And it’s better for the patient to go to
someone who does those things… – Now, you say this is life-changing. What do you mean by that? – So, it’s interesting. I have two groups of patients I see most
often. I have patients who come to me and say,
“Well, you know, I had an eye doctor tell me that I have glaucoma.” And they think that because they have
glaucoma, they’re really going to go blind. I mean, I’ve had young patients in their
40s and 50s who think, “I’m going to be on eye drops for the rest
of my life. My life is going to be tied down to
sitting down somewhere. I have to lie down, I have to put a bottle
in my eye. I can’t go out for more than four or five
hours without running home and remembering to bring my eye drops.” I mean, that is a huge time commitment. Some of my patients who are on three
medications, they have to remember, “Did I take the blue or the purple or the
yellow or the green?” And they have to remember which one they
just took and which one they haven’t taken. It’s a lot to keep track of,
especially if you have five, six other medications. So I’ve had one lady, for example. She’s in her 60s, very active. She has to take care of her grandkids,
pick them up from school. She has schedules, and errands,
and volunteer work she does during the day, and then on top of that,
she was taking three eye drops because someone told her that her eye pressures
were too high. So when I met her, she came in with a bag
of eye drops and she would say, “You know, between all of my errands and all of my
work, I’m trying to remember which ones I already took and which ones I haven’t. Sometimes, I get mixed up. And then every 28 days,
I have to call a pharmacy for a refill. And then on top of that,
my copays are over $100 every month for these three eye drops.” And I looked at her,
I examined her eyes and I said, “Gosh, your risk for glaucoma is really,
really low. I would say less than 1%. Now, do we really need to take all those
eye drops? If your risk is so low and your eye
pressures are just borderline high, we can probably start taking you off and
just seeing what happens to your eye pressure.” And you know what happened, Randy? – What? – I took her off one drop at a time,
and by the time we took her off three eye drops, her eye pressure barely went up
a little bit. She didn’t need to be on all of those eye
drops. For years she had been tied down to these
eye drops thinking, “I have glaucoma because I have high eye pressure. This is my only choice.” – It’s interesting. So you’re forced to take these $100 a
month copay eye drops because you don’t want to go blind? – Exactly. You’re scared, right? – So there’s a big motivation to take to
the drops but you’re here to say that maybe you need a second opinion if you’re
on drops, ca., and I don’t want to put words in your mouth,
a glaucoma specialist? – Right. You just need to get someone else to take
a fresh look at your eyes with their eyes and say, “Is this really medically
necessary?” Because if in that discussion you find the
risk is so small and you’re willing to accept that risk,
which we take risks every day just driving down the high way. If that risk is really,
really acceptably small to you, you may not need to be on three eye drops. So I’ve had other patients, for example,
I had a lady who is actually on an eye drop that she had been taking for years
and some of the side effects are they cause the eyelashes to grow. And so she had these horribly long
eyelashes that for some people would be great, but hers were actually churning
in, would constantly scratch her eyes. And she felt like she had something in her
eyes all the time. She was going to her eye doctor every
three weeks to get her eyelashes plucked because she had to be on these eye drops,
she thought. And it was bothering her so much because
you always feel like there’s something in the eye. And she also had these sunken eyes. She said, “You know,
it must be part of aging,” when she saw me. The eyes looked like they had sunken into
her head, but they were actually a side effect from her medications. Her eyes were completely red, irritated,
and they were sunken as if she had cosmetic surgeries that… – So what did you do? – So I told her, I said,
“Because you’re only on one eye drop, we can actually do a laser.” And she said, “What is that?” And I said, “Outpatient procedure,
five minutes, no recovery. You go home the same day and we can get
you off an eye drop,” and she was amazed. We did the laser for her,
and within three to four weeks, her eye pressure had dropped and she got
off on her eye drop. She didn’t need it anymore. – So the laser actually cleaned the
drainage part of the eye. – Exactly. – Pressure goes away,
no need for the drops. – That’s it. It’s a very simple balancing equation,
and that’s why we want patients to check out this option because having an eye drop
may seem like an easy thing. It’s maybe once a day,
but the side effects can be, you know, worse. – But if it’s $50 or $100 a month and it’s
causing side effects, it may not be the way to go. – It really isn’t for a lot of patients. – And the same thing with the surgery
patient where you create, like, an additional drain. – Exactly. – Those patients also can get off the
drops sometimes. – Exactly. – Is that right? – Yes. – And they see better. Do they see better? – Yeah. So one of the problems with eye drops when
you take them for a long time, they cause burning and irritation. And most of my patients actually tell me
that once they put it in, they actually can’t see sometimes for a
few minutes because the blurriness from the eye drop can distort their
vision. Some of my patients don’t drive for 20
minutes, 30 minutes after they put the drops in. If you do that three times a day,
that’s a huge time commitment. So by putting in a small drain or a small
stent in the eye, it’s a surgery. Yes, you go to an operating room. Yes, it takes two hours to do from
beginning to end. But after the surgery,
if you’ve been on three eye drops and you go down to zero which I’ve had in several
of my patients, it’s really life-changing. – And what about marijuana? Marijuana is supposed to bring
down…medicinal marijuana is supposed to bring down the eye pressure. – Exactly. – People are doing this across the
country. – Yes, yes. – This works, effective? – It works, but how effective it is is a
big, big question mark. So think about one eye drop,
and we’ve done studies, actually, comparing that one eye drop to how
effective is marijuana to one eye drop, and you literally have to smoke the
equivalent of five joints to have the equivalent of one eye drop. – So five of the marijuana joints is
equivalent to one drop? – One eye drop. – Interesting. – And if you’re taking three eye drops a
day, you do the math. That’s 15 joints a day,
and that’s pretty hard to sustain. – So it’s probably not helping your
glaucoma but you’re feeling better and you’re relaxed and don’t worry about your
problems, I guess. – Exactly. So maybe in that standpoint, you’re not… – So marijuana’s out for glaucoma? – I would say that, at best,
it would be a supplement. But depending on where you get it,
what your distributor is actually packaging for you, you’re not really even
sure that you’re getting the right ingredient inside the marijuana to lower
your pressure. – We are literally out of time. We have about a minute left. But I know in the green room, I said,
you know, “What’s your main message?” You said, “Well, there’s three people,”
and I’m paraphrasing you slightly, the gray zone of diagnostics,
people that are on tons of meds, and people that aren’t responding to
treatments that you want to help the most. – Right. – So if you can…a word on those three
categories of patients. – Yes. So we want these three groups of people to
be especially aware that they can come in to see us. One, the people who’ve lived in glaucoma
gray zone forever. They’ve been told by one provider,
another provider, they have it, they don’t have it, they have it,
they don’t have it. They’re back and forth,
or they’ve been told that, you know, “You may have it. Why don’t you try these three different
medications?” They don’t know whether or not they
actually have it, and, sometimes, they don’t have access to diagnostic. – They tell you this on the consult? Like, “I don’t know if I have it or not. One guy said I had it,
the other one said don’t worry about it.” – So commonly, Randy. So commonly. And it’s very frustrating when you don’t
know if you have something if you don’t know what your options are and you don’t
know what your future is, right? So, sometimes, you just need to know,
“What is my risk?” And, sometimes, it’s an objective number. I can tell you you’re at X% risk of
developing it, and that is something that patients need to know to be able to
empower themselves to take care of their eyes. The second group of people are people who
are on a lot of eye drops. So most of my glaucoma patients at this
point are maximum two. Those are the patients who have some
problems with surgery or can’t go to surgery for other medical reasons. But, really, if you’re really on more than
two medications, you need to see a glaucoma… – Get a second opinion? – Get a second opinion because that’s a
huge quality of life issue. – And the third? – And the third group of people are those
who have been treated for glaucoma for many years and they’ve been told by
their eye providers that their glaucoma is getting worse. The problem is that those people often
think that, “This is hopeless. This is my lot in life. I’m just going to have to be able to…” – Slowly go blind? – Slowly go blind. “I’m going to give up my driver’s license. I’m not going to be able to do this
activity. I’m not going to be able to play tennis
because I can’t see the ball.” – So you want to see those patients? – We want to see them because there’s
actually so much more new technology available now. – Okay. Good. We’re out of… Great stuff. So I think the main message here,
it’s like anything else, the public doesn’t know that there is a
subspeciality in ophthalmology, a glaucoma specialist. – Right. – Fellowship-trained glaucoma specialist
and they don’t need a referral. Insurance covers what you do,
Medicare covers what you do to see a glaucoma specialist. – Yeah. You just have to pick up the phone. – Seems easy. So they could go to your centers and get a
diagnostic workup? – Easy. – You guys do it all right there? – Yeah. And we can get you in within a few days. We really pride ourselves on getting you
in and having to be able to sit down and chat with you about what it is that’s
important to you and how can we help you maintain that. – Now, I don’t even think I’m paraphrasing
here, but you told me on the phone, “It’s a great time to have glaucoma.” – It is a great time. Twenty years ago, we didn’t… – Because of what you could do? – Exactly. Twenty years ago, we didn’t have this,
and now there’s just this new whole wavefront of technology. Probably in the next five years,
there will be more and more. And to have glaucoma now is completely a
liberating experience in terms of you have choices that maybe your parents or your
relatives didn’t have, and that’s why we want to hear from you
and talk to you about that. – Okay. Good. I want to thank you for coming on the
program. Very, very good.
– Thanks so much, Randy. Appreciate it. – You’ve been watching “The Wellness
Hour.” I’m Randy Alvarez. For now, I wish you good health. – [Man] Thanks for watching “The Wellness
Hour,” the leader in medical news with your host, Randy Alvarez,
the authority on health issues. ♪ [music] ♪

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