What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is often called the “silent thief of sight”. People with glaucoma may have no pain or visible symptoms and in the early stages it is very hard to recognize. Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness in America. It affects between 2 and 3 million Americans each year. Many of those affected do not even know they have the disorder. Because it often has few or no warning signs until damage has already been done to the eye, untreated, glaucoma permanently damages the optic nerve, leading to blindness. If it is detected early enough, the progress of the disease can be halted with medical and surgical options. We also offer annual eye examinations for those over the age of 40 to monitor eye diseases such as glaucoma so proper treatment can be delivered and vision loss can be avoided.
Glaucoma is known as a disease of the eye in which the pressure of fluid inside the eyeball is abnormally high. This is caused by obstructed outflow of the fluid. The increased pressure can damage the optic nerve and lead to partial or complete loss of vision.
Glaucoma Risk Factors
While high eye pressure is the most important risk factor for the development and progression of glaucoma, it is still only one of many. Some other risk factors include:
- Ethnic background
- Diabetes and related diabetes eye conditions
- High levels of myopia
- Trauma to the eye
- Steroid use
- Individuals who have parents with glaucoma
- African Americans over the age of 40
What are the signs and symptoms of Glaucoma?
The symptoms of glaucoma can be different for each form but in most cases people are not aware until significant damage has been done. Most of this damage does occur to the optic nerve.
Open-Angle Glaucoma Symptoms include:
- Vision loss
- Gradual loss of peripheral vision
Angle-Closure Glaucoma Symptoms include:
- Decreased vision
- Cloudy vision
- Sudden, severe pain, usually in one eye
- Eye feels swollen
- Red eyes
- Halos around lights
- Nausea and vomiting
Glaucoma Treatment Options
Using these eye drops helps lower intraocular pressure, which becomes elevated because of glaucoma.
SLT (selective laser trabeculoplasty)
SLT is a laser treatment that quickly and painlessly lowers eye pressure in glaucoma patients. If SLT is not successful, there are surgical treatment options available as well.
MIGS uses microscopic-sized equipment and almost minuscule incisions to relieve high intraocular pressure and treat glaucoma.