Glaucoma is a disease that causes loss of vision by damaging the optic nerve—the part of the eye that delivers the images you see to the brain. It is the second leading cause of blindness according to the World Health Organization. Over 3 million Americans have glaucoma, and it causes blindness in over 100,000 people annually. Glaucoma can strike without warning or symptoms, that is why it is often called the "Sneak Thief of Sight." Because of this fact, most people with glaucoma are not aware they have it. Glaucoma cannot be cured, and the vision loss it causes cannot be regained. But with proper treatment, it is possible to slow the progression of glaucoma and potentially halt further loss of vision.
Glaucoma occurs when intraocular pressure (IOP) in the eye is higher than the eye can tolerate, causing damage to the main nerve that supplies vision, the Optic Nerve. Glaucoma affects the peripheral vision inward; therefore vision is lost before a patient is aware. Specialized testing is done to monitor progression of this disease. Unfortunately, by the time someone has symptoms from this disease; the vision lost can not be regained. Because vision loss starts before patients are aware, it is important to have regular eye exams and testing.
Many treatment options are now available to keep our patients seeing well. Treatments include: eye drops, laser procedures and sometimes major eye surgery. One of the state of the art glaucoma treatment options is Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT). This procedure is used to lower intraocular pressure (IOP) by clearing out pigment from the trabecular meshwork, blocking the patient's natural outflow of intraocular fluid. When this pigment blocks the outflow, IOP becomes elevated.
All of our providers manage glaucoma care. If glaucoma is more severe or requires laser surgery, our three physicians handle this care. If glaucoma requires major surgery, a patient may be referred out to glaucoma specialists for evaluation and treatment.