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Doctor Speak – Glaucoma Awareness

Standing Up For Vision

Granddaughter helping her grandmother read.

Glaucoma is a major cause of irreversible vision loss worldwide, early detection and screening are important. It affects more that 3 million people in the United States – nearly half of whom are unaware that they have the disease.

Hope Vision Foundation joins the American Academy of Ophthalmology in reminding the public that early detection and treatment can help protect your sight.

Glaucoma damages the optic nerve, which transmits visual information from the retina to the brain. Typically, the disease initially has no signs or symptoms. If left untreated, glaucoma can cause irreversible blindness.
Appropriate treatment for glaucoma depends on the specific type and severity of the disease. Medicated eye drops or laser treatments are the most common initial approach. These techniques work by lowering eye pressure to reduce the amount of fluid in the eye, and by increasing fluid outflow from the eye.

Using Eye Drops

A comprehensive eye exam provides physicians who specialize in medical and surgical eye care an opportunity to carefully examine the eye including the optic nerve for signs of damage and other possible problems that may affect vision.

Individuals at greater risk for developing glaucoma include people:

  • over age 40
  • of African, Asian or Hispanic heritage
  • who have high eye pressure detected during and eye exam
  • that are farsighted or nearsighted
  • who have experienced eye trauma or eye injury
  • whose corneas are thin in the center
  • who have health problems such as diabetes, migraines, high blood pressure or poor blood circulation

“Glaucoma is typically symptomless to patients; however, permanent, irreversible vision loss can already be taking place”

-Andrew G. Iwach, M.D. a clinical spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology

Cutting Edge Therapy

Many new surgical therapies are available for patients with Glaucoma. Minimally Invasive Glaucoma Surgery is often called MIGS. If you have glaucoma and you are having cataract surgery you may be offered MIGS. MIGS may use a small stent or include a goniotomy to help drain the fluid
(aqueous) from the front of the eye to help lower pressure. Ask your surgeon about these options:

  • Kahook dual blade goniotomy
  • XEN45 Gel Stent
  • Trabectome

Early detection is the key to managing glaucoma and avoiding blindness. So, if you are concerned about your vision please schedule and appointment with your eye care professional.

Erin Seefeldt, MD is a board certified ophthalmologist.

Dr. Erin Seefeldt is a board certified ophthalmologist and residency program director who has published and presented nationally. She is committed to improving vision care and vision rehabilitation services.