Glaucoma is a chronic disease of the eye that gradually reduces sight without symptoms. Experts estimate that approximately half of the people affected by glaucoma may not know they have it. It is known as the "sneak thief of vision" because the symptoms of the disease are hardly noticeable. Fortunately, it can be readily diagnosed by a thorough eye exam.
Glaucoma comes in many varieties. Open angle glaucoma is the most common type of glaucoma. This type is often associated with elevated eye pressures. The increased eye pressure can only be found during an eye exam because it is painless. Because half of the people with glaucoma will not have a high eye pressure when first measured, an examination of the optic nerve by an ophthalmologist is essential for early detection.
Closed or Narrow-angle glaucoma is much less common and accounts for less than 10% of all glaucomas. Eye pain, redness and blurred vision can be symptoms of narrow angle glaucoma. This type of glaucoma can be worsened by many common medications, such as antihistamines (Benadryl), antidepressants and urinary/bladder drugs. People with hyperopia or farsightedness and people with Asian ancestry are more at risk for closed angle glaucoma.
Vision loss from glaucoma is caused by damage to the optic nerve. The optic nerve acts like a cable to carry images from the eye to the brain. While there is no cure for glaucoma, early detection and treatment can preserve your sight. Treatment involves lowering the eye pressure using medications, laser glaucoma surgery and/or traditional surgery.
At the Eye Treatment Center, we specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of glaucoma. We provide skilled examination, eye pressure measurement, gonioscopy (specialized evaluation of the drainage angle), corneal thickness measurement, computerized visual field testing, Electroretinograms (ERG) and state of the art optic nerve imaging to aid with diagnosis and monitoring. In most cases, we can control the glaucoma and preserve vision.