What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a progressive eye disease that can lead to blindness. It occurs because the "drain" of the eye is compromised. Therefore, the drain is not able to properly filter the eye fluid. This results in a build up of eye pressure, leading to damage of the optic nerve, and loss of vision. There are several different types of glaucoma. Glaucoma should not be confused with cataracts, which are a benign age related condition. 


Who is at high risk for developing glaucoma?

It is more common in Men and women over the age of 60 (but one can develop glaucoma at ANY age)

Individuals with a family history of glaucoma

African, Hispanic, and Asian individuals

Individuals with a history of eye injury


How is glaucoma diagnosed?

The only way to truly diagnose glaucoma is with a dilated comprehensive eye exam. During the initial glaucoma exam, the doctor will:

            Check your eye pressure

            Examine the angle of your eye

            Dilate your eyes to examine your optic nerve

            Perform photos or scans to further assess your optic nerve

            Perform a peripheral vision test (visual field), if not performed in the last 3 months


How is glaucoma treated?

The main goal in treating glaucoma is reducing eye pressure. This can be achieved with:

            Eye drops (first line treatment)

            Laser procedures (not everyone is a candidate)

            Surgical procedures (if eye drop therapy is unsuccessful)


What can you do to prevent glaucoma from worsening?

            Keep your follow-up eye appointments

            Use your medication as directed

            Have a dilated eye exam at least once per year

            Repeat peripheral vision testing (visual field) 1-2 times per year


Glaucoma treatment is a team effort!

            Treating glaucoma successfully requires communication between you and your doctor. If you are prescribed eye drops, you should take them as instructed. Failure to use the eye drops can result in worsening glaucoma and eventually blindness. Generally, patients with glaucoma should be monitored 2-4 times per year, but this varies from patient to patient. Keep your follow-up appointments, as this is the only way to monitor your pressure and stage of disease. Come to your appointments prepared to ask questions, as understanding your condition is important to your success.