Glaucoma Explained (Managing Glaucoma) – San Antonio, TX

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About Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a very complex group of eye diseases that affect the eye's optic nerve, which can lead to vision loss and long-term blindness. In the United States alone, roughly 2.2 million people have glaucoma, but only half are aware that they have it. This is largely due to the fact that the most common type of glaucoma has very few symptoms before vision loss occurs – there is no pain, no redness, and no signs of swelling. For this reason, patients need to be aware of their potential risk of developing glaucoma and have regular eye exams at Stone Oak Ophthalmology Center in San Antonio, TX. Our board-certified ophthalmologists, Dr. Allison Young, Dr. Kristin Held, and Dr. Teresa Whitney, are highly experienced in the diagnosis and management of glaucoma. Contact our office to schedule a private consultation today to assess your overall ocular health.

Symptoms

What makes glaucoma so dangerous is that the most common type often does not reveal any signs or symptoms, which is why it is commonly known as a "silent" disease. There are many different types of glaucoma, which also makes this disease challenging to diagnose. Some concerns to look out for include:

  • Tunnel vision
  • Blurry or cloudy vision
  • Severe headaches
  • Abnormal or chronic eye pressure

Causes

Glaucoma is defined as damage to the optic nerve as a result of elevated intraocular pressure. Damage to the optic nerve causes vision loss that starts in the periphery (side) of your vision.

In healthy eyes, the fluid within the eye flows from one area to another through a special tissue called the trabecular meshwork. This tissue supports the area between the cornea and the iris. In some cases, this flow can be blocked or severely slowed, which causes fluid buildup.

The two main kinds of glaucoma are determined according to the condition of the trabecular meshwork and the amount of space between the iris and cornea. When the fluid retention is happening because of a problem within the trabecular meshwork, it is considered open-angle glaucoma. However, if the retention is related to the space between the cornea and iris being too constricted or obstructed, this is diagnosed as narrow- or closed-angle glaucoma.

Unfortunately, there is no cure for glaucoma, but through early diagnosis and appropriate treatment, healthy vision can often be preserved. Other factors may also increase one's risk of developing glaucoma, such as:

  • Advanced age
  • Genetics
  • Long-term use of certain medications
  • Having diabetes or other diseases

Treatment Options

The first step in diagnosing and treating glaucoma is to perform a comprehensive eye exam. Once our seasoned ophthalmologists have evaluated your eyes, we can determine the type and specific stage of your glaucoma. From there, we will review all of your treatment options.

The overall goal of glaucoma treatment is to lower the eye pressure to a level that no longer damages the optic nerve. Initially, prescription drops are used, and these medications work very well in patients with early stage glaucoma who take them consistently.

At Stone Oak Ophthalmology Center, we provide laser peripheral iridotomy to our patients diagnosed with narrow-angle glaucoma. This is a very quick and painless treatment that is done by using a laser to create a microscopic hole in the edge of the iris. The creation of this hole allows the fluid to flow more easily, which reduces intraocular pressure and widens the space between the iris and cornea. A peripheral iridotomy can be very important for narrow-angle glaucoma patients in the prevention of both gradual and sudden complete angle closures. 

We are committed to finding the best treatments for our patients' individualized ocular health care. For those who require other treatments, including MIGS (minimally invasive glaucoma surgery), other laser therapies, or more major surgeries, we will provide a referral to a trusted glaucoma surgery specialist.

Relieve Your Glaucoma

Although there is no cure for glaucoma, the symptoms are often very manageable with early detection and treatment. Annual eye exams, especially for patients over the age of 40, can help preserve your vision health and improve current impairments, like blurriness or severe eye pressure. We invite you to call Stone Oak Ophthalmology Center in San Antonio, TX to schedule a glaucoma eye exam today.

*Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary from person to person. Images may contain models.