Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness in the world today. It often has no symptoms – especially in its early stages – earning its reputation as “the silent thief of sight”.
WHAT IS GLAUCOMA?
Glaucoma is a condition associated with higher-than-normal pressure in the eye. It is characterized by damage to the delicate fibers that make up the optic nerve resulting in slow vision loss that can lead to blindness. Glaucoma affects approximately two million Americans, and half of those people are unaware they even have the disease.
For this reason, Mann Eye Institute puts great emphasis on early detection. Every person over the age of 40 should have a comprehensive eye exam once a year, including a screening for glaucoma.
WHAT CAUSES GLAUCOMA?
The exact cause of glaucoma is unknown. But technically speaking, the passages that normally allow fluid within your eye to drain become clogged or blocked, increasing pressure on the optic nerve. The increased pressure can damage nerve fibers and blood vessels, resulting in vision loss.
IS THERE MORE THAN ONE TYPE OF GLAUCOMA?
There are several types of glaucoma, but the two main types are open-angle glaucoma and angle-closure or closed-angle glaucoma. Both are marked by increased pressure in the eye. According to the Glaucoma Research Foundation, open-angle glaucoma is the most common form, accounting for around 90% of all glaucoma cases.
HOW IS GLAUCOMA DIAGNOSED?
In most cases, glaucoma doesn’t have any symptoms beyond slow vision loss. For this reason, glaucoma screening is an essential part of every comprehensive eye exam at Mann Eye Institute. If glaucoma is detected, our experienced glaucoma specialists will look at the following factors in an in-depth glaucoma evaluation:
- The appearance of the optic nerve
- A peripheral vision test (sometimes called a visual field test)
- Optical Coherence Tomography (also called OCT)
- Gonioscopy of the Angle (or drainage system of the eye)
- Pachymetry (or thickness of the cornea)
- Medical history
- Family history
- Glaucoma chart
Does glaucoma run in your family? Schedule your comprehensive eye exam today to determine your risk for developing this sight-stealing condition.
HOW IS GLAUCOMA TREATED?
While there is no cure for glaucoma at this time, it can be controlled and stabilized by maintaining proper eye pressure. It’s important to choose a trusted and experienced doctor for your glaucoma management.
The goal of glaucoma treatment at Mann Eye Institute is to preserve your current level of vision and to prevent further vision loss. Treatment can vary, depending on the type of glaucoma diagnosed, the degree to which the glaucoma has progressed, your underlying risk factors and other variables. Glaucoma treatment falls into the following categories:
- Laser treatments (Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty and Laser Peripheral Iridotomy)
- Minimally Invasive Glaucoma Surgery (MIGS)
- Conventional glaucoma surgery
Glaucoma is much more complex than most people understand. For this reason, glaucoma subspecialist ophthalmologists train an additional year beyond the four years of ophthalmology residency training. It’s important to choose a trusted and experienced doctor for your glaucoma management.