What Is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a group of eye conditions that damage the optic nerve, leading to vision loss or blindness if left untreated. It often develops slowly and without any symptoms, earning it the nickname "the silent thief of sight." It's crucial to have regular eye exams to detect and manage glaucoma early, as vision loss from glaucoma cannot be reversed.

Types of Glaucoma

  1. Open-Angle Glaucoma: This is the most common type of glaucoma. It occurs when the drainage canals in the eye become clogged over time, leading to increased intraocular pressure (IOP).

  2. Angle-Closure Glaucoma: In this type, the iris blocks the drainage angle in the eye, causing a sudden increase in IOP. This is an emergency situation requiring immediate medical attention.

  3. Normal-Tension Glaucoma: In this form, optic nerve damage occurs even though IOP remains within the normal range.

Risk Factors

Certain factors may increase your risk of developing glaucoma, including:

  • Age (higher risk for those over 60)

  • Family history of glaucoma

  • High intraocular pressure

  • African, Hispanic, or Asian descent

  • Thin corneas

  • Other eye conditions or injuries

Glaucoma Symptoms

In the early stages, glaucoma may not have noticeable symptoms. As it progresses, you may experience:

  • Patchy blind spots in your peripheral or central vision

  • Tunnel vision in advanced stages

  • Severe eye pain or headache (in the case of acute angle-closure glaucoma)

  • Nausea and vomiting (in the case of acute angle-closure glaucoma)

Diagnosis and Treatment

Early diagnosis is crucial for managing glaucoma effectively. Our skilled ophthalmologists at the Center for Eye Care and Optical use the following diagnostic tools:

  • Tonometry: Measures intraocular pressure.

  • Ophthalmoscopy: Examines the optic nerve.

  • Visual Field Testing: Detects changes in peripheral vision.

  • Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT): Provides detailed images of the optic nerve.

Treatment options include:

  • Medications: Eyedrops or oral medications to lower IOP.

  • Laser Therapy: Various laser procedures to improve drainage.

  • Surgery: When medications and laser therapy aren't sufficient, surgical options like trabeculectomy or shunt implantation may be considered.

Preventing Glaucoma

While there's no surefire way to prevent glaucoma, regular eye exams are essential for early detection. Other steps to help maintain eye health include:

  • Maintaining a healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet and regular exercise.

  • Protecting your eyes from injury.

  • Managing underlying health conditions like diabetes.

At the Center for Eye Care and Optical, we are committed to providing comprehensive eye care, including early detection and management of glaucoma. Our experienced team of ophthalmologists, optometrists, and opticians is here to support you on your journey to better eye health.

If you have concerns about glaucoma or need to schedule an eye exam, please don't hesitate to contact us. Your vision is our priority, and we're here to help you see a brighter future.

Bennett Y. Hong, M.D

Dr. Bennett Hong is a fellowship-trained ophthalmologist who specializes in glaucoma and cataract surgery. Dr. Hong was born and raised in Queens, New York. He graduated Cum Laude from Columbia University and obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics and East Asian Studies. He then attended medical school at Stony Brook University School of Medicine.

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