- Diagnostic modalities including comprehensive eye exams with gonioscopy and intraocular pressure measuring, visual fields testing, optic disc photos, and optical coherence tomography (“OCT”) testing of the optic nerve and angle
- Intraocular pressure lowering eye drop medication prescriptions
- Surgical services including selective laser trabeculoplasty (“SLT”), iStent placement at the time of cataract surgery, trabectome, and Express minishunt filtering procedures
What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a group of eye conditions that damage the optic nerve, the health of which is vital for good vision. This damage is often caused by an abnormally high pressure in your eye. Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness for people over the age of 60. It can occur at any age but is more common in older adults.
Many forms of glaucoma have no warning signs. The effect is so gradual that you may not notice a change in vision until the condition is at an advanced stage.
Because vision loss due to glaucoma can’t be recovered, it’s important to have regular eye exams that include measurements of your eye pressure so a diagnosis can be made in its early stages and treated appropriately. If glaucoma is recognized early, vision loss can be slowed or prevented. If you have the condition, you’ll generally need treatment for the rest of your life.
The signs and symptoms of glaucoma vary depending on the type and stage of your condition. For example:
- Patchy blind spots in your side (peripheral) or central vision, frequently in both eyes
- Tunnel vision in the advanced stages
Acute angle-closure glaucoma
- Severe headache
- Eye pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- Blurred vision
- Halos around lights
- Eye redness
Because chronic forms of glaucoma can destroy vision before any signs or symptoms are apparent, be aware of these risk factors:
- Having high internal eye pressure (intraocular pressure)
- Being over age 60
- Being black, Asian or Hispanic
- Having a family history of glaucoma
- Having certain medical conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and sickle cell anemia
- Having corneas that are thin in the center
- Being extremely nearsighted or farsighted
- Having had an eye injury or certain types of eye surgery
- Taking corticosteroid medications, especially eyedrops, for a long time
Currently, regular eye exams are the best form of prevention against significant glaucoma damage.
Early detection and careful, lifelong treatment can maintain vision in most people. In general, a check for glaucoma should be done:
- before age 40, every two to four years
- from age 40 to age 54, every one to three years
- from age 55 to 64, every one to two years
- after age 65, every six to 12 months
Anyone with high risk factors should be tested every year or two after age 35.
- Know your family’s eye health history.Glaucoma tends to run in families. If you’re at increased risk, you may need more frequent screening.
- Exercise safely.Regular, moderate exercise may help prevent glaucoma by reducing eye pressure. Talk with your doctor about an appropriate exercise program.
Can Glaucoma be cured?
We hope to one day restore vision lost from glaucoma, but that can’t presently be done. Existing treatments slow the process for most patients. It can be controlled. Eye drops, pills, laser procedures, and surgical operations are used to prevent or slow further damage from occurring. With any type of glaucoma, regular eye examinations are very important to detect progression and to prevent vision loss.