Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness in the United States — vision loss from this disease occurs over time as the optic nerve is damaged due to increased pressure in the eye. Glaucoma can often go undetected until irreversible damage has been done to one’s eyesight, so it is crucial to schedule regular eye exams, where this disease can be detected early on through routine screening. Most people who are affected by glaucoma are over 40, but it can affect individuals of any age. At Prestera Eye, Dr. Tory Prestera and Dr. Kevin Garff offer specialized treatment options that can preserve your vision and prevent further damage.
What Are the Causes and Symptoms of Glaucoma?
In the earliest stages of glaucoma, patients typically experience no pain, and do not have a noticeable loss of vision. Unfortunately, there is no cure for glaucoma or any way to reverse existing damage, so it is important for this disease to be diagnosed as soon as possible.
Glaucoma is usually the result of increased pressure in the eye, which occurs when there is a buildup of aqueous fluid in the eye due to overproduction of fluid and/or a lack of proper drainage. Genetics are considered a main risk factor for glaucoma, but even patients with no family history of the disease may develop it. Dr. Prestera and Dr. Garff will perform thorough glaucoma evaluations for any patients with risk factors.
Once symptoms of glaucoma have become apparent, significant damage has likely already been done. This is why it is sometimes referred to as the “silent thief of sight.” Glaucoma’s effects cannot be reversed, but getting proper treatment from an experienced eye doctor can help prevent the disease from progressing. Depending on the type of glaucoma present, some symptoms may include loss of peripheral vision, blurry vision, halos, a feeling of intense pain and pressure in the eye, nausea, and light sensitivity.
What Is Ocular Hypertension?
Ocular hypertension is a condition in which the eye’s pressure is elevated, but no discernable damage has yet occurred to the optic nerve. This may also be referred to as “pre-glaucoma” or “glaucoma suspect,” since the increased pressure caused by ocular hypertension can potentially lead to the development of glaucoma. If ocular hypertension is detected, Dr. Prestera and Dr. Garff may recommend treatment to help reduce the pressure in your eyes and ultimately prevent the onset of glaucoma.
What Is Open Angle Glaucoma?
Open angle glaucoma is the most common form of glaucoma. It progresses slowly, and is the result of the eye’s drainage system becoming blocked over time. When this happens, fluid begins to build up in the eye, eventually causing increased intraocular pressure and damage to the optic nerve. Since this type of glaucoma develops gradually, symptoms generally go unnoticed until serious damage has already occurred.
What Is Narrow Angle Glaucoma?
Narrow angle glaucoma is the second most common type of glaucoma. Patients with narrow angles are at risk of acute angle closure, which can rapidly lead to very high eye pressures that require immediate medical attention. Narrow angle glaucoma is indicated when the iris arches forward and blocks the eye’s drainage system either partially or completely, causing rapid fluid buildup. In acute cases, symptoms are typically painful and noticeable. There are more chronic forms of narrow angle glaucoma that may not produce symptoms.
What Are My Treatment Options for Glaucoma?
To treat glaucoma, Dr. Prestera and Dr. Garff offer medicated eye drops, as well as laser therapy and Minimally Invasive Glaucoma Surgery (MIGS). If you are diagnosed with glaucoma, your doctor will discuss initial treatment options (typically daily eye drops or laser) and help you decide which treatment option is better for you. The laser therapy is designed to be safe and comfortable (most patients experience little to no discomfort). It can improve fluid drainage in the eye with and without cutting or damaging any tissue in the eye. Patients who receive laser therapy can often reduce or eliminate the need for medicated eye drops. Additionally, Dr. Garff performs Minimally Invasive Glaucoma Surgery (MIGS), often at the same time as cataract surgery, to improve eye pressure or even eliminate the need to use eye drops.
Contact Prestera Eye Medical Group
To schedule a comprehensive eye exam that includes screening for glaucoma, please contact us today.