What is glaucoma?
Glaucoma consists of a group of diseases characterized by progressive damage of the optic nerve and results in progressive loss of visual field and ultimately visual acuity. The optic nerve plays a vital role in vision and is located in the back of the eye. It connects the visual apparatus of the eye to the brain and transmits visual information to the central processing centers. Any injury to this nerve will interrupt the relay of visual input and affect vision to various degrees. In glaucoma, damage to the optic nerve is typically associated with elevated intraocular pressure, but one out of seven glaucoma patients will have normal pressures. Usually, the disease process is gradual and chronic, but occasionally it can be sudden and severe.
The greatest concern among physicians is that most of the time the patient is unaware that they have glaucoma and cannot “feel” that something is wrong until the disease becomes advanced. The reason for this is that early in the disease process, usually only the peripheral visual field, or the “side vision,” is lost while the central vision is almost entirely unaffected. Therefore, patients may not even realize that they have lost a part of their vision. As the disease progresses, visual field defects may extend centrally and constrict the field of vision, creating “tunnel vision.” Even at this stage, patients may not notice that they are losing vision. When the central visual field is eventually involved, the patient will then start to lose visual acuity and may complain of “blurry vision” or “difficulty seeing details clearly.” For this reason patients usually remain asymptomatic until the late or advance stages of glaucoma when the central visual field is affected. Unfortunately, damage to the optic nerve is typically irreversible, underscoring the need to prevent disease progression in the first place and to preserve as much visual field as possible. The key is to diagnose early and treat early!
To combat glaucoma, our mission at Eversight Eye Center is to prevent vision loss by:
- Identifying patients at risk of developing glaucoma.
- Following higher risk patients more closely.
- Detecting glaucoma at an earlier stage.
- Treating glaucoma at an earlier stage.
- Offering a full spectrum of treatment options, ranging from medical to surgical. Due to recent advances, glaucoma treatment has become safer and more effective than ever before. Treatment starts with glaucoma eye drops that lower intraocular pressure, which is the main goal of glaucoma treatment. If eye drops fail to control eye pressure, then surgical options can be explored. We offer a variety of procedures performed in the office or in the operating room. New technologies, such as MIGS (Minimally Invasive Glaucoma Surgery), and new surgical instruments have allowed us to offer safer and quicker procedures than traditional surgeries. If the need arises, our staff is always ready to review the surgical options.