Glaucoma Awareness Month

Jan 18, 2023
Healthy eye vs. Eye with Glaucoma
January is Glaucoma Awareness Month and our team at Optic Gallery Horizon Ridge is dedicated to preventing vision loss through annual comprehensive eye exams.

What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness in the United States. It is a complex eye disease that damages the optic nerve which delivers signals to the brain and allows us to see. It is often associated with high eye pressure (intraocular pressure) and can cause slow vision loss. Glaucoma can be called “the silent thief of sight” because by the time someone is diagnosed, they may have irreversible vision loss. If left untreated, patients can experience peripheral vision loss, blurry vision, and blindness. 

There are more than 80 million people with glaucoma. Everyone is at risk for this disease and even younger patients can develop glaucoma. Risk factors include family history of glaucoma, higher eye pressure, patients over 55, African American, Asian, or Hispanic descent, thin central corneal thickness, and diseases like diabetes and hypertension.

Types of Glaucoma?

  • Primary Open Angle Glaucoma (POAG): This is the most common type and is due to a slowly increasing eye pressure that results in a gradual loss of vision. The vision loss is usually peripheral and encroaches on the central vision in later stages.
  • Secondary Glaucoma: This type of glaucoma has a known cause and occurs “secondary” to that medical condition. Some causes of glaucoma are diabetes, hypertension, inflammation, and certain drugs like corticosteroids.
  • Acute-Angle Closure Glaucoma: This is the most serious type and can cause sudden loss of vision. When the eye pressure increases too quickly in a short period of time because the flow of the fluid inside the eye called the aqueous humor gets blocked. This can present with a sudden onset of eye pain on one side and a headache. Other symptoms with the headache include blurred vision, haloes around bright lights, nausea and vomiting.

Is there a cure for Glaucoma?

At this time, there is no known cure. However, there are several ways your eye doctor can manage glaucoma. This includes medication to lower the intraocular pressure and surgery. Different types of surgeries can be performed to help control the eye pressure, such as trabeculectomies, laser surgeries, minimally invasive glaucoma surgery (MIGS) and drainage implant surgeries.


How can we help prevent vision loss from Glaucoma?

At Optic Gallery Horizon Ridge, we routinely check for different signs of glaucoma during your annual comprehensive eye exam. Some tests that I will use to check include checking the eye pressure with a non-contact tonometer, screening for any peripheral vision loss with our visual field machine, retinal imaging to monitor any changes to the optic nerve, and an optic nerve evaluation under a biomicroscope. All this is done as part of a thorough eye health evaluation yearly. Prevention is key to managing glaucoma. If I am suspicious of glaucoma, I will refer and co-manage with a glaucoma specialist which is an ophthalmologist that is trained specifically in managing this disease. 


Call to schedule your routine eye exam today: 725-220-2020 or Schedule online