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GLAUCOMA

Glaucoma is a group of diseases affecting the optic nerve that results in vision loss and is frequently characterized by raised intraocular pressure (IOP).

Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness in the U.S. It occurs when the pressure inside the eye rises, damaging the optic nerve and causing vision loss. The condition often develops over many years without causing pain or other noticeable symptoms – so you may not experience vision loss until the disease has progressed.

For the majority of glaucoma cases, including the most common form, open-angle, there are no discernable symptoms until the optic nerve is damaged and side (peripheral) vision is lost. For this reason, regular eye exams are critical to detection and treatment of the disease.  Individuals at high risk for glaucoma should have a dilated pupil eye examination at least every two years.

Sometimes symptoms do occur. They may include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Loss of peripheral vision
  • Halo effects around lights
  • Painful or reddened eyes

People at high risk include those who are over the age of 40, diabetic, near-sighted, African-American, or who have a family history of glaucoma.

To detect glaucoma, your physician will test your visual acuity and visual field as well as the pressure in your eye. Regular eye exams help to monitor the changes in your eyesight and to determine whether you may develop glaucoma.  Once diagnosed, glaucoma can be controlled. Treatments to lower pressure in the eye include non-surgical methods such as prescription eye drops and medications, laser therapy, and surgery.