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Glaucoma Management

What is Glaucoma?

GlaucomaGlaucoma is a group of associated eye diseases, which if allowed to progress, can result in severe vision loss and blindness. Although there are many causes and types of glaucoma, they all are related to an abnormally high pressure inside the eye referred to as intraocular pressure (IOP). Glaucoma is truly a “sneak thief of sight” due to the fact that oftentimes the elevation of the eye pressure is undetected by the patient until the damage is severe. Typically, there is no associated pain, redness or drainage from the eye. As the pressure in the eye continues to rise, there is progressive damage to the optic nerve “wire” which is the main nerve carrying vision fibers from the eye to the brain. As with nerve damage in any other organ, it is typically irreversible. Because of the lack of symptoms (asymptomatic) nature of glaucoma, it is unfortunately the second leading cause of blindness in the United States.

Chronic Open Angle Glaucoma

Chronic open angle glaucoma is by far the most common form of glaucoma that we see in the United States. Most of your friends, neighbors and relatives who have glaucoma most likely have this form. People at higher risk than normal for this form of glaucoma are generally those over the age of 40, diabetic patients, patients who are significantly nearsighted, patients of African-American heritage, patients who have received or are receiving cortisone (steroid) medications and those who have a family history of glaucoma.

Open angle glaucoma is typically diagnosed in the course of a routine eye examination. Glaucoma testing takes less than a minute and is so very important in preventing this very treatable form or potential blindness. Various instruments are used to measure the IOP, some of which you are probably familiar with such as the “puff” device, the applanator technique which is attached to the slit-lamp biomicroscope; the tonopen hand-held device among others. Glaucoma screening is an intregal part of our routine comprehensive eye examination protocol. We always recommend glaucoma screening in the course of your checkup.

GlaucomaAlthough there are currently no known absolute cures for glaucoma, treatment is very, very effective in controlling the condition and preventing blindness. The key is to diagnose the condition as early as possible. Once diagnosed, open angle glaucoma is typically treated with various sorts of eye drops, all of which are designed to result in lowering the intraocular pressure measurements. Often, eye drop therapy is supplemented by laser therapy, and on occasion surgical interventions are necessary to control the IOP.

Angle Closure Glaucoma

Unlike open angle glaucoma, angle closure glaucoma is typically characterized by a sudden rise in the intraocular pressure; in turn, because the eye is not able to accommodate this sudden pressure rise, the ensuing symptoms are dramatic. They typically involve loss of vision, halos, and fog, all of which develop over a period of a few hours or days. In addition, due to the central nervous system connections, there are oftentimes systemic symptoms of nausea, vomiting, headaches, and even fainting. Acute angle closure glaucoma is a serious ophthalmic emergency – it will result in vision loss and even blindness if not treated promptly.


Treatment involves the prompt lowering of the eye pressure with various eye drops and pills and then as soon as possible administration of a laser iridotomy procedure. There are no currently known cures for glaucoma, but with early diagnosis and proper treatment, it can usually be successfully managed to slow or eliminate its potentially blinding effects.

Detection and Treatment of Glaucoma

Glaucoma is normally detected during routine eye examinations and underscores the importance of routine checks by a skilled professional. The doctors at Goodman Eye Medical Center are highly trained eye care specialists. Glaucoma screening is an integral part of our routine comprehensive eye examination.

Goodman Eye Medical Center offers state of the art diagnostic equipment to diagnose the symptoms of glaucoma and its effects such as loss of peripheral vision. The investment in our new vision center includes an addition of diagnostic lasers by Ellex, Inc and Humphrey’s computerized visual field tester. Additionally, The Ellex medical glaucoma laser has been added to give treatment to glaucoma patients who do not respond to medication alone.

There are no currently known cures for glaucoma, but with early diagnosis and proper treatment, it can usually be managed to slow or eliminate its effects.

Please feel free to contact us for additional information about glaucoma, and enjoy the excellent animations which demonstrate several types of glaucoma.

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