Glaucoma

As many as 3 million Americans have glaucoma, but it is estimated that around half of them do not know that they have it. If left untreated, glaucoma can cause irreversible vision loss. Regular eye exams are important for early detection and treatment of glaucoma.

Glaucoma Diagnosis and Treatment in Western Ohio

At Valley Eye Institute we are dedicated to caring for your eye health. Our ophthalmologists and optometrists are highly experienced in diagnosing and managing glaucoma and other eye diseases. We offer sophisticated diagnostic tools and advanced treatment options for glaucoma.

What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is an ocular disease that causes damage to the eye’s optic nerve. Abnormally high pressure within the eye (referred to as intraocular pressure or IOP) is often the cause of the damage and it can lead to blindness if it is not managed or controlled.2

Your eye contains fluid called aqueous humor. In a healthy eye this fluid maintains a stable level and flows through a natural drainage system called the trabecular meshwork. Glaucoma occurs when the eye produces too much fluid or when the trabecular meshwork does not work properly due to a blockage or other abnormality, causing an elevated pressure level.

Symptoms of Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness worldwide and this is partly due to the fact that many people do not realize that they have it until it is too late.3 Open-angle glaucoma, the most common form of the disease, is sometimes called the “sneak thief of sight” because it often presents with no symptoms. The first symptom that people with open-angle glaucoma notice is blind spots in their peripheral vision. However, once this vision is lost it cannot be regained. This is why it is critical to have regular comprehensive dilated eye examinations—your eye doctor can diagnose and treat glaucoma before you notice any vision loss.

Types of Glaucoma

Open-Angle Glaucoma

Open-angle glaucoma is the most common form of the disease and accounts for 95% of cases.4 Also called primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG), this condition can go undetected for a number of years because there is no pain or discomfort, but irreversible damage is slowly being done to the eye. Early detection allows you to work with your eye doctor to manage the disease and prevent or control vision loss.

senior woman swimming

Narrow-Angle Glaucoma

Narrow-angle, also called acute angle-closure glaucoma or closed-angle glaucoma, has a much quicker onset than open-angle glaucoma. It also has noticeable symptoms, including eye pain, sudden vision changes, blurred vision, and red eyes. This rare form of glaucoma is a potentially vision-threatening condition which requires immediate treatment with a laser surgical procedure.

Risk Factors for Glaucoma

Experts do not know exactly what causes glaucoma, but there are certain risk factors that can put you at an increased risk of developing glaucoma:

Glaucoma Treatment Options

There are several ways to treat glaucoma. Your eye doctor at Valley Eye Institute will recommend a treatment plan to lower eye pressure and reduce optic nerve damage.

Medications

Early stages of open-angle glaucoma are typically treated with eye drops to lower eye pressure. There are a variety of prescription eye drops available that are designed to help lower eye pressure and your eye doctor will advise you on the best option for you.

Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT)

SLT is a brief laser treatment to the eye’s drainage mechanism to reduce the pressure and relieve a buildup of intraocular fluid. It may be used either as a primary or adjunctive form of therapy. The pressure-lowering effects are generally seen within a few weeks following the treatment.

Minimally Invasive Glaucoma Surgery (MIGS)

Hydrus Stent

The Hydrus Stent is a micro device that is implanted during a Minimally Invasive Glaucoma Surgery (MIGS) procedure. This tiny stent works in three different ways to manage glaucoma:

Clinical studies show that 77% of Hydrus patients experienced a reduction in IOP and 78% no longer needed eye drops after surgery.5

Older woman's eye close up with a laser graphic over it

ECP (endoscopic cyclophotocoagulation)

Patients with glaucoma that are having cataract surgery also undergo an additional procedure called ECP or Endo-laser. This laser treatment is a brief 5 minute procedure performed during the cataract removal. The goal of ECP is to reduce the amount of fluid being produced inside the eye in order to significantly reduce intraocular pressure.

Frequently Asked Questions About Glaucoma

How is glaucoma diagnosed?

Glaucoma is diagnosed during a dilated eye exam. Your eye doctor will perform a series of non-invasive testing, including checking your eye pressure, drainage, optic nerve health, and your peripheral (side) vision. Depending on your level of glaucoma or risk for glaucoma, appropriate treatment and follow-up care will be recommended.

Is there a cure for glaucoma?

No, there is no cure for glaucoma. However, a glaucoma treatment plan can slow the progress of the disease in order to preserve your vision.

Can glaucoma be prevented?

No, glaucoma cannot be prevented. However, caring for your eye health with regular eye exams can ensure that glaucoma is detected early and treated early enough to properly manage the disease.

Which glaucoma treatment is right for me?

Everyone has unique eyes and their own needs and goals. Your eye doctor will discuss all of your options, including the benefits of each available treatment as well as any potential side effects, in order to recommend a glaucoma treatment plan that is best for you.

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1 Friedman DS, Wolfs RC, O’Colmain BJ, et al. Prevalence of open-angle glaucoma among adults in the United States [published correction appears in Arch Ophthalmol. 2011 Sep;129(9):1224]. Arch Ophthalmol. 2004;122(4):532‐538. doi:10.1001/archopht.122.4.532
2 Mayo Clinic. Glaucoma. Available: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/glaucoma/symptoms-causes/syc-20372839 Accessed August 24, 2021
3 U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Don’t Let Glaucoma Steal Your Sight! Available: https://www.cdc.gov/visionhealth/resources/features/glaucoma-awareness.html Accessed August 24, 2021
4 BrightFocus Foundation. Glaucoma: Facts & Figures. Available: https://www.brightfocus.org/glaucoma/article/glaucoma-facts-figures Accessed May 20, 2020
5 Samuelson TW, Chang DF, Marquis R, et al; HORIZON Investigators. A Schlemm canal microstent for intraocular pressure reduction in primary open-angle glaucoma and cataract: The HORIZON Study. Ophthalmology. 2019;126:29-37

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