Glaucoma, the second leading cause of blindness, is often referred to as the “sneak thief of vision.” Glaucoma is a condition caused by increased pressure within the eyeball that damages the optic nerve and results in vision loss. The pressure occurs when the fluid in the eye, called aqueous humor, does not drain normally due to a blocked channel in the front of the eye.
Get yourself and your loved ones tested for glaucoma at UofL Physicians, where our doctors put your vision first. Eye specialists at UofL Physicians are highly trained to detect and treat early symptoms of glaucoma. Glaucoma is more common in adults over the age of 40; however, young adults who have increased risk factors can be affected too. Some types of glaucoma are hereditary. If someone in your family is diagnosed, our physicians highly recommend you begin screenings at an earlier age. At UofL Physicians, you will undergo various eye exams to ensure you are properly diagnosed and treated accordingly to the type of glaucoma you have. Our eye specialists remain on the front of the most advanced procedures and technology to treat glaucoma.
Our physicians are committed to halting vision loss and controlling glaucoma to maintain your current vision. At UofL Physicians, you will be treated with the thorough care and treatment you require whether you have already been diagnosed with glaucoma or you are receiving frequent eye exams due to increased risk factors.
Diseases and conditions
There are various types of glaucoma that can affect a patient. Some are hereditary and others occur suddenly and must be treated immediately. Glaucoma can lead to complete blindness if it is not detected and treated early.
Types of glaucoma
- Open-angle, also known as primary or chronic glaucoma, is the most common type and is hereditary. It is caused by the slow clogging of the drainage canals increasing pressure in the eye. The disease can progress slowly without symptoms for many years. Not until late in the disease, blurry vision and loss of side vision are noticeable.
- Angle-closure, also known as acute or narrow-angle glaucoma, is caused by blocked drainage canals which increase eye pressure at a fast rate. Severe eye pain, cloudy vision, red eye, swelling and seeing halos around lights are common symptoms.
- Congenital glaucoma is hereditary and often seen at birth. It is caused by abnormal eye development. Common symptoms include cloudiness in front of the eye, enlargement of the eye(s), red eye, sensitivity to light or tearing.
- Normal-tension is when the optic nerve is damaged but the eye pressure is normal. This type of glaucoma can be hereditary.
Symptoms vary based on the type of glaucoma you have, but you should seek immediate care if you experience any of the following:
- Eyes that appear cloudy (especially in babies)
- Vision loss (starting with the loss of side vision)
- Severe or sudden pain in the eye
- Halos around lights
- Tunnel vision (narrowing of vision)
- Nausea or vomiting
African Americans, adults over the age of 40, and people with a history of glaucoma or diabetes are most at risk and should get a complete eye exam before the age of 40. Our eye specialists can conduct these thorough eye exams once a year or more depending on your genetic history. The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends a complete eye exam every three to five years if you do not have any glaucoma risk factors.
Treatments and services
Although a cure for glaucoma has not yet been discovered, UofL Physicians – Eye Specialists are highly skilled at controlling the experienced loss of vision by lowering the eye pressure through various treatment options.
The most common types of treatment for glaucoma are:
- Eye drops or pills may be prescribed to help lower and control eye pressure.
- Eye surgery may be necessary to treat cases of glaucoma that have resulted in more severe vision loss.
- Various laser procedures can be applied in the office to treat the various glaucoma conditions.
- Drainage surgery may also be performed in the operating room to allow more fluid to drain and thus lower the eye pressure.
UofL Physicians – Eye Specialists providers are trained to determine which treatment -- or a combination of treatments if the condition is more advanced -- is best for you based on your type and stage of glaucoma. Your physician will monitor progress through regular testing to ensure that you are receiving the most appropriate level of treatment to preserve your eyesight. Our specialists are focused on maintaining the vision you currently have and applying preventative methods to halt further vision loss caused by glaucoma.