Glaucoma

The eye doctors at The Eye Clinic of Texas provide examination, diagnosis and treatment of glaucoma. Glaucoma is a term that is used to describe a broad range of eye problems that can damage the optic nerve and cause loss of vision. Most serious eye problems usually produce some symptoms that make patients uncomfortable or disturb their vision. However, the most common type of glaucoma can begin without any symptoms or obvious loss of vision. It is insidious in onset and, if not diagnosed and treated early in its course will lead to progressive, permanent, and unnoticed vision loss. This is why it is essential to diagnose and treat glaucoma as early as possible through regular eye examinations. Fortunately, with early detection and diagnosis, in the vast majority of cases, glaucoma can be treated and controlled so that vision loss can be prevented.

Everyone is at risk for glaucoma. However, depending on your general health, eye health and other family history considerations, there are a number of factors that that may influence your likelihood of developing glaucoma. These “Glaucoma Risk Factors” are important to understand in assessing your own personal risk for developing Glaucoma. Glaucoma risk factors include a higher than normal intraocular pressure (IOP), being above 40 and especially above 60 years of age, being of African-American descent or Hispanic and above 60 years of age, being extremely nearsighted, having high blood pressure or diabetes and especially anyone who has a family history of glaucoma is at considerably greater risk.

There are many types of Glaucoma. However, there are two main types of Glaucoma: Primary Open Angle Glaucoma (POAG), and Angle Closure Glaucoma. Sometimes it is possible to have damage to the optic nerve, even with a “normal” Intraocular Pressure (IOP). When optic nerve damage has occurred despite a normal IOP, this is called Normal Tension Glaucoma. Secondary Glaucoma refers to any case in which another disease causes or contributes to increased eye pressure, resulting in optic nerve damage and vision loss. We will limit our discussion to Primary Open Angle Glaucoma and Angle Closure Glaucoma.

Clinical Image - Glaucoma

Patients with Primary Open Angle Glaucoma usually have an increase in Intraocular Pressure (IOP) upon routine measurement, called Tonometry.

Acute Angle Closure Glaucoma is one of the only types of glaucoma that produce distinct symptoms that include pain, light sensitivity, redness, blurred vision, colored haloes around lights and nausea or vomiting.

Acute Angle Closure Glaucoma is considered a medical emergency. If you experience a sudden onset of pain, redness, blurred vision, light sensitivity, haloes around lights, nausea and vomiting, please call The Eye Clinic of Texas at 800-423-3937 and relay these symptoms to the receptionist so that you can be given an appointment immediately.

The best way to maintain eye health and preserve your vision is to have regular and complete eye examinations with the appropriate level of diagnostic testing for Glaucoma as recommended by the eye doctors at The Eye Clinic of Texas. During your examination, our eye doctors and staff may perform a number of tests in order to make the most accurate diagnosis of glaucoma. These include Tonometry to measure, Ophthalmoscopy to carefully examining the inside of the eye-especially the optic nerve, Visual Field testing using computer bowl like instrument to evaluate your “side” or peripheral vision to see how sensitive your side vision is in various directions, Gonioscopy to directly observe the health and condition of the angle of your eye where the Iris meets the Cornea, OCT or “optical coherence tomography” digital imaging and Pachymetry or corneal thickness measurement as corneal thickness can alter the accuracy of the measurement of intraocular pressure (IOP) and it appears that patients with thin corneas may be inherently more likely to develop glaucoma. 

There are three main methods that your eye doctor at The Eye Clinic of Texas may recommend to treat Glaucoma: Medical Treatment of Glaucoma, Laser Treatment of Glaucoma and Surgical Treatment of Glaucoma. Primary Open Angle Glaucoma is most often treated with eye drops. The use of a laser treatment for glaucoma in conjunction with the eye drop treatment or sometimes even using the laser treatment as the primary treatment, are excellent options to help maintain control and slow or stop the progression of the disease. Laser treatment for glaucoma is regularly used to help prevent vision loss and is becoming a glaucoma treatment of choice for many patients who have problems with eye drops or are unable to use eye drops properly. For a small number of patients, even with the maximum eye drop medical therapy and laser eye surgery, it is still not possible to achieve good stable control of their disease and stop the progression of vision loss. These patients often require one of a number of types of glaucoma surgery including trabeculectomy ( seen in image ), or advanced Minimally Invasive Glaucoma Surgery (MIGS) implantation of microscopic tubes, shunts, valves or stents to help lower the pressure in their eyes.

Clinical Image - Glaucoma