Glaucoma

Glaucoma is an eye condition that progressively damages the optic nerve of the eye, which causes vision loss or blindness if left untreated. Glaucoma is a serious disease because symptoms are usually so gradual that they may go unnoticed at first and any vision loss cannot be reversed.

Last Updated:

  • Overview
  • Symptoms and Causes
  • Diagnosis and Tests
  • Management and Treatment

Last Updated:

Overview

It is estimated that more than 3 million people in the United States have glaucoma, but as many as half are not aware they have it.1 The only way to find out if you have Glaucoma before it becomes advanced is to routinely have comprehensive dilated eye exams.

The Glaucoma Specialists at CVP Physicians Dayton have years of experience detecting Glaucoma in its earliest stages. We offer advanced treatments to slow the progression of glaucoma and prevent vision loss. CVP Physicians Dayton is your resource for Glaucoma evaluation, care, and management in Dayton, Springboro, and the greater Ohio communities.

Glaucoma diagram

Types of Glaucoma

The signs and symptoms of glaucoma vary depending on the type and the stage of development. Most cases of glaucoma fall into one of two categories:

Open-Angle Glaucoma

When people discuss glaucoma they are mostly talking about open-angle glaucoma, as this type accounts for 95% of glaucoma cases.2 Open-angle glaucoma, which is sometimes called primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG), occurs as a result of increased eye pressure from a build-up of fluid inside the eye. This common type of glaucoma can cause irreversible vision loss, but typically has no symptoms in the beginning, which is why yearly eye exams are so important.

Narrow-Angle Glaucoma

Narrow-angle glaucoma (also called angle-closure glaucoma or acute glaucoma), has symptoms that can come on suddenly and cause a painful “glaucoma attack”. This condition happens when the position of the eye shifts in a way that blocks fluid from draining. Narrow-angle glaucoma is relatively rare and should be considered a medical emergency when it does occur. Symptoms of narrow-angle glaucoma include blurred vision, nausea, headache, and intense eye pain.

Symptoms and Causes

Glaucoma Symptoms

Many people who have glaucoma are not aware they have it until they begin to notice blind spots, especially to the side (peripheral vision). By the time there is noticeable vision loss caused by glaucoma, it has been present for some time and there is no way to reverse damage to the optic nerve or the resulting vision loss.

Signs and symptoms of open-angle glaucoma:

  • Seeing halos around lights
  • Narrowing of vision (tunnel vision)
  • Blurred vision
  • Trouble differentiating between varying shades of light and dark

What Causes Glaucoma?

The exact cause of glaucoma is not known. glaucoma is usually, but not always, associated with elevated pressure in the eye (intraocular pressure). It is this elevated eye pressure that leads to damage of the eye (optic) nerve. Some experts also believe that poor blood flow to the optic nerve could be a factor.

While there is no one cause of glaucoma, there are some risk factors that may increase your chance of developing it:3

  • Age: People over 60 years old are more susceptible (although experts advise that screening start by age 40).
  • Ethnicity: Glaucoma occurs in all ethnicities, but there are higher rates among people of Hispanic, African American, or Asian descent.
  • Genetics: Those with a family history of glaucoma should closely monitor their vision.
  • Health: Certain health conditions such as Type 2 Diabetes, hypertension, a history of migraines, and heart disease can increase the risk of glaucoma.
  • Vision: People with extreme nearsightedness or farsightedness may have a higher risk.
  • Previous eye injuries: Past eye trauma or a history of using corticosteroid medications and eye drops.

If you have more than one of these risk factors, it is even more important to have regular glaucoma screenings.

Diagnosis and Tests

How is Glaucoma Diagnosed?

If you live in the Dayton, Springboro or surrounding areas, the board-certified and fellowship trained ophthalmologists at CVP Physicians Dayton will complete a thorough glaucoma screening as part of a comprehensive dilated eye exam. Our eye doctors use the most advanced technology to measure the pressure in your eyes (intraocular pressure, or IOP), evaluate your optic nerve, assess the drainage angles in the interior of the eyes, and specifically do a detailed check of your peripheral (side) vision.

At CVP Physicians Dayton, our doctors have a long-standing history of diagnosing glaucoma as early as possible. Annual comprehensive eye exams are the best way to detect glaucoma at its very early stages and prevent vision loss.

Management and Treatment

Glaucoma Treatment Options

If you are diagnosed with glaucoma, you should begin treatment as soon as possible to slow or stop the progression of vision loss. The glaucoma experts at CVP Physicians Dayton will help you fully understand your glaucoma diagnosis and determine the best treatment option for you.

There is no cure for glaucoma and the treatments that are available will not reverse any vision loss that has already occurred. The goal of glaucoma treatment is to slow the progression of the disease by decreasing eye pressure in order to slow or prevent further vision loss. At CVP Physicians Dayton, we provide the full spectrum of glaucoma therapies including the newest glaucoma medications, advanced laser procedures, and the latest surgical procedures.

Glaucoma Medications

There are a variety of medications available to help manage glaucoma, typically in the form of eye drops that reduce the amount of fluid in the eye in order to lower intraocular pressure. Medications need to be used daily in order to be effective and more than one medication may be recommended.

Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT)

Graphic drawing of selective laser trabeculectomyIf medication alone does not control eye pressure, your eye doctor may recommend an in-office procedure such as Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT). This treatment uses a low-power laser to open up clogged drainage channels inside the eye. Studies show that SLT can reduce eye pressure by up to 35%.4 Patients who have a favorable result may repeat this procedure every few years.

Laser Peripheral Iridotomy (LPI)

This laser treatment is typically recommended for patients who have narrow-angle glaucoma. Laser Peripheral Iridotomy (LPI) involves a specialized laser that is focused on the iris of the eye and works to widen the drainage pathway in order to relieve pressure.

Minimally Invasive Glaucoma Surgery (MIGS)

The most advanced surgical glaucoma procedures using microscopic-sized equipment and tiny incisions. A very tiny tube-like device can be placed within the eye to provide drainage for fluid and reduce intraocular pressure. Commonly called MIGS, minimally invasive glaucoma surgery aims to reduce the chance of complications that can occur with more traditional approaches. This type of surgery may also reduce the need for eye drops.
There are several types of MIGS surgeries available and they are often combined with cataract surgery. Your eye care team will work with you to determine the best option for you.

Glaucoma Filtering Surgery (Trabeculectomy)

graphic drawing of trabeculectomy
Glaucoma filtering surgery, sometimes called trabeculectomy, is a surgical procedure to create a new drainage channel in the eye, either with or without a small drainage device called an aqueous shunt. This procedure may be recommended if medications and laser treatments fail to control pressure.
 

Cyclophotocoagulation Glaucoma Surgery

Cyclophotocoagulation, or CPC, is a surgery that is typically reserved for advanced glaucoma that has not responded to other treatments. In this operation, a laser probe is placed on the ciliary body, which lies behind part of the iris in order to eliminate the tissue that produces fluid in the front of the eye.

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Contact CVP Physicians Dayton for Glaucoma Treatment

The experienced glaucoma specialists at CVP Physicians Dayton are committed to preventing further loss of vision for glaucoma patients in Dayton, Springboro and the surrounding areas. Contact us with any questions or to schedule your appointment.

Real Patient Reviews

Great, very friendly, no problems on check-in. [I] had 2 eye surgeries [and] would recommend them to all, back again, have had no problems. – Bonnie D.

1 Friedman DS, Wolfs RC, O’Colmain BJ, et al. Prevalence of open-angle glaucoma among adults in the United States [published correction appears in Arch Ophthalmol. 2011 Sep;129(9):1224]. Arch Ophthalmol. 2004;122(4):532‐538. doi:10.1001/archopht.122.4.532
2 BrightFocus Foundation. Glaucoma: Facts & Figures. Available: https://www.brightfocus.org/glaucoma/article/glaucoma-facts-figures Accessed May 20, 2020.
3 Mayo Clinic. Glaucoma. Available: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/glaucoma/symptoms-causes/syc-20372839 Accessed May 20,2020.
4 Samuelson, TW. Chang DF. Marquis, R. A Schlemm Canal Microstent for Intraocular Pressure Reduction in Primary Open-Angle Glaucoma and Cataract. Ophthalmology. January 2019 Volume 126, Issue 1, Pages 29–37

The doctors at CVP Physicians Dayton have either authored or reviewed the content on this site.

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