Glaucoma is a complex condition where optic nerve damage leads to progressive and irreversible vision loss. In the United States, glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness.
How would I know if I have glaucoma? How does the eye feel?
Most of the time patients are asymptomatic from glaucoma, which makes it very important for everyone to get regular eye exams. People who experience sudden increases in eye pressure will have headaches across the eyebrow, haloes or blur in vision, and possibly nausea and vomiting. This constellation of symptoms, if present, should prompt one to seek eye care immediately.
I’ve never been told that I have high eye pressures, so I don’t have glaucoma right?
Eye pressure can be high or even “normal” in patients with glaucoma. The diagnosis of glaucoma typically hinges on seeing optic nerve damage, but the main factor that can protect the optic nerve from further damage is lowering the eye pressure through drops, laser, or surgery. This is why it is important to have an expert perform a complete exam with additional in-office testing as needed to confirm presence of the disease.
What does a glaucoma test involve?
Our ophthalmologists and optometrists at Raleigh Eye Center will check your eye pressure, the structure of the drain of the eye, and optic nerve appearance. We also perform scans of the optic nerve head and visual fields to check the structure and function of the optic nerve. All of our state-of-the-art testing is done in the office typically and is not invasive.
How is glaucoma treated?
We offer the full range of treatments for glaucoma at Raleigh Eye Center, including eyedrops, laser treatment (trabeculoplasty, laser iridotomy), minimally invasive glaucoma surgery (e.g. iStent, goniotomy, cyclophotocoagulation), and traditional incisional glaucoma surgery (trabeculectomy, tube shunts). All of our ophthalmologists and optometrists are able to diagnose and treat glaucoma, but should your condition require more specialty or complex care, you may be referred to our glaucoma specialist Dr. Anita Vin.
For more information about glaucoma, please click here to visit the Glaucoma Research Foundation website.
As the most common form of glaucoma, this type is typically hereditary. With open-angle glaucoma, the intraocular pressure in the eye increases gradually over a period of years. The increase in pressure pushes on the optic nerve and the retina, causing damage.
This type of glaucoma comes on quickly and causes a severe, painful increase of pressure in the eye. It occurs when the aqueous humor fluid cannot exit the eye due to a blockage. People who have had angle-closure glaucoma in one eye are at significant risk of it occurring in the other eye.
This is a hereditary type of glaucoma that is present at birth. The cause of congenital glaucoma is an abnormal development of how the aqueous humor fluid exits the eye.
This rare type of glaucoma is caused by the clogging of the eye’s drainage angle due to a pigment that has broken loose from the iris (colored part of the eye). The blockage causes an increase in intraocular pressure in the eye. It is most common in men who are nearsighted and in their 20-30’s.
This type of open-angle glaucoma is similar to open-angle glaucoma in that it can lead to visual field loss due to damage to the optic nerve. However, with normal-tension glaucoma, the eye’s intraocular pressure remains within the normal range. Pain with this form of glaucoma is unlikely and symptoms may not be recognized until damage is further along.
This type of glaucoma is caused by medical conditions such as uveitis, systemic diseases and trauma, and can be triggered by certain drugs such as corticosteroids.
Looking for a way to diagnose your glaucoma in Raleigh? Routine eye exams are the best way to monitor, screen, receive early diagnosis or prevent permanent eye damage that may be caused by your glaucoma. Our glaucoma specialists check your eye pressure and may also verify that the aqueous humor can drain freely from the eye with a test called a gonioscopy. If side vision loss is a concern, your doctor may perform visual field testing and examine the optic nerve for damage.
It is important to begin glaucoma treatment quickly after diagnosis. Treatment for glaucoma can as simple as applying eye drops or as complex as surgery. If eye drops are prescribed, it is essential that drops are not discontinued for any reason without first consulting your Raleigh eye doctor, as non-compliance to glaucoma medication administration is often the cause of blindness in those with glaucoma.
If you are at risk for developing glaucoma, our Raleigh ophthalmologists suggest annual eye exams in order to receive the most effective treatment. Contact us at Raleigh Eye Center today to schedule your appointment.
Our ophthalmology center is proud to provide glaucoma treatment in Raleigh, NC and surrounding cities, including Apex, Cary, Chapel Hill, Durham, Fuquay-Varina, Garner and Wake Forest.