What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a potentially blinding condition where the pressure in your eye damages your optic nerve.  Since the optic nerve carries the vision from your eyes to your brain, any damage to the optic nerve can be serious.  Fortunately, glaucoma can be successfully treated and controlled if it is found before it causes the damage to your optic nerve.  At SureVision Eye Centers, every time you come for an eye check-up, we measure your eye pressure and look to see if there are any signs of damage to your optic nerve.

Who gets Glaucoma?

Glaucoma can occur at any age, but most commonly it comes as we get older.  Here are some common risk factors for glaucoma:

  • Large amounts of Nearsightedness (Myopia), and Farsightedness (Hyperopia)
  • Family history of relatives with glaucoma
  • Medications, particularly steroids taken for long periods of time

If you have these risk factors, it is important to have your eyes checked, at least annually to look for signs of glaucoma.

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Eye Pressure

The eye pressure in normal eyes generally is 11-21 mmHg.  As the pressure gets higher for longer, it can start to damage your optic nerve.  In some people who have anemia, or sickle cell conditions, even lower eye pressures can cause damage.  In the middle of your eye there is tissue that makes the fluid that fills your eye and brings nourishment to all the interior parts.  That fluid flows to the front of your eye where it goes through a drainage channel back into the blood stream.  If that drainage channel gets clogged or collapses with age, it can cause the fluid to build up inside your eye, raising the pressure.

What are the symptoms of Glaucoma?

Your eye can’t feel the pressure inside, so you can’t tell when the eye pressure is too high.  The first fibers of the optic nerve that get damaged by excessive pressure are at the outside edge of your vision, so you don’t notice it.  We can test your field of vision to see if there is damage, but you won’t notice it until it gets close to the center of your vision, and by then, a lot of damage can be permanent.  That’s how glaucoma can sneak up on you.

If the eye pressure rises suddenly, it can cause hazy vision, dimming of light, headache, and nausea, but this is a rare type called Acute Glaucoma.  Most people with glaucoma don’t have any of these symptoms, and only find out that they have glaucoma when checked for it.

Glaucoma treatment

There are lots of successful ways to treat glaucoma.  At SureVision Eye Centers, our glaucoma experts have a wide range of options to eliminate or control glaucoma.  For some, it may just be an eyedrop.  For others, there is laser surgery that can be done in our offices, or in combination with cataract surgery.  When glaucoma is particularly severe there is reconstructive surgery that we can use to add a new drainage channel to lower the eye pressure to a safe level.

  • SLT Laser:  This is a treatment performed in our office that is quick and painless.  It can lower the eye pressure to safe levels and eliminate the need for eye drops in many patients.  It can be repeated at regular intervals to keep the eye pressure controlled.  Most health insurance plans cover this treatment and it can eliminate the expense of buying glaucoma drops each month and the annoyance of putting them in your eye each day.
  • ECP Laser:  This is a treatment performed in our surgery center in combination with cataract surgery.  It takes an extra 60 seconds to do and can eliminate your need to use glaucoma drops after cataract surgery.  Most health insurance plans cover this treatment and it can eliminate the expense of buying glaucoma drops each month and the annoyance of putting them in your eye each day.

Make an appointment for a glaucoma checkup and see what options are best for managing any problems that you may be having.

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The surgeons and doctors at SureVision Eye Centers are among the most experienced and well-trained in the world. Each year, they perform thousands of surgical and vision correction procedures. At SureVision Eye Centers, we believe everyone should have a lifetime of their best possible vision.

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