At Primary Eye Care Associates, we have a dedicated glaucoma center in our Chicago office offering advanced technology and exceptional care at every stage of treatment. Glaucoma refers to a group of eye conditions that can cause irreversible vision loss and eventual blindness without proper treatment. This condition usually results when the optic nerve is damaged due to abnormally high pressure within the eye. Glaucoma develops gradually, and may not become apparent to the sufferer until vision is permanently affected, so it is important to undergo regular eye exams. Our team, led by Dr. Steven Chander, provides detailed diagnosis and effective treatment options to control your symptoms and prevent further damage to your vision. To schedule your screening and learn more about glaucoma, contact our office today.
What Is Glaucoma?
In a normal eye, aqueous humor – the fluid between the lens and cornea – circulates in and out of the eye continually. When the fluid fails to circulate and exit the eye, glaucoma can develop. There are several types of glaucoma:
By far the most common type, open-angle glaucoma occurs when the drainage canals within your eye become clogged. Symptoms of open-angle glaucoma often do not become apparent to the sufferer until vision loss has occurred. In open-angle glaucoma, vision loss begins in the periphery, and can progress to tunnel vision.
In angle-closure glaucoma, the iris bulges forward, blocking the drainage pathway, preventing the flow of aqueous. Symptoms develop suddenly, and can include:
- Eye pain
- Halos around lights
- Blurred vision
Other less common types of glaucoma include normal-tension glaucoma and congenital glaucoma.
In normal-tension glaucoma, the optic nerve becomes damaged even though pressure within the eye is normal. Congenital glaucoma affects infants and young children, and can occur when an infant's eye fails to develop proper drainage canals, causing increased pressure within the eye.
If you develop any symptoms of glaucoma or vision loss, you should visit an eye care specialist immediately. Meanwhile, it is very important to establish a routine of regular eye exams to detect vision conditions in the earliest stages.
We have several methods of diagnosing glaucoma:
- Visual field test: An examination of your full range of vision can reveal glaucoma symptoms.
- OCT test: Optical coherence tomography (OCT) uses ultrasound to detect optic nerve damage.
- Optomap®: This advanced imaging system creates a full image of your retina, which can reveal where damage has occurred. It can also show conditions such as macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy, which can be related to glaucoma.
- Drainage angle test: After placing a special contact lens in your eye, doctors can identify a blocked or narrowed drainage angle.
If you have glaucoma, Primary Eye Care Associates will create a personalized treatment plan for you. Although existing optic nerve damage cannot be repaired, glaucoma can be monitored and controlled to prevent further vision loss.
In some cases, eye drops are the simplest way to control glaucoma. By applying prescription eye drops several times a day, you can reduce the production of aqueous, thereby alleviating internal pressure. Other glaucoma treatment options include:
- Trabeculoplasty: Laser removal of a precise amount of tissue can open the drainage channel.
- Peripheral Iridotomy: If you suffer from closed-angle glaucoma, peripheral iridotomy can reshape the part of the iris that is blocking the drainage angle.
Schedule an Appointment
If you have recognized symptoms of glaucoma or vision loss, contact Primary Eye Care Associates today. Even if you are not experiencing symptoms, regular exams with an eye specialist can detect potential problems before they cause vision loss.