What is Glaucoma?

What is glaucoma? It is a disease that affects the optic nerve located at the back of your eye and is one of the leading causes of irreversible blindness in the world when left untreated.

At Elmquist Eye Group in Cape Coral and Fort Myers, Dr. E. Trevor Elmquist, Dr. Kate Wagner and Dr. Nina Burt are skilled at diagnosing glaucoma, even in its earliest stages, and can help you decide upon the best course of treatment for the disease.

What is GlaucomaDr. Elmquist is an experienced board certified ophthalmologist who has been selected as one of America’s Top Doctors in ophthalmology. Drs. Wagner and Burt are board certified optometrists with extensive experience in the diagnosis and treatment of cataracts, macular degeneration, diabetic eye disease, dry eyes, glaucoma, presbyopia, myopia, hyperopia and other eye conditions.

Elmquist Eye Group offers state-of-the-art facilities and services ranging from routine eye exams for glasses to bladeless laser-assisted cataract surgery and glaucoma laser surgery. Our talented team can address your glaucoma concerns and any other problems you may be having with your eyes.

Glaucoma Testing

Glaucoma often occurs when the normal fluid pressure inside the eye slowly rises, but checking only the eye pressure is not enough because even people with normal eye pressure can develop the disease.

Glaucoma typically develops slowly and without any symptoms or pain. You may hear it called the “silent thief of sight” because as much as 40% of vision can be lost before a person begins to notice.

Comprehensive dilated eye exams are extremely important in detecting glaucoma before it damages your vision. When detected and treated at an early stage, glaucoma can be controlled. 

Who is at Risk for Glaucoma?

According to the Glaucoma Research Foundation, about 3 million Americans have glaucoma and many don’t even know they have it. The cause of glaucoma is unknown, but there are several risk factors that increase your risk of developing the disease.

High-risk groups for glaucoma include people over 60 years of age, African Americans (who are 15 times more likely to be visually impaired from glaucoma than Caucasians), those with a family history of glaucoma, people with diabetes, people who are severely nearsighted but babies and young people can develop glaucoma too.

If you are diagnosed with glaucoma or have risk factors for the disease, your doctor may ask you to have certain tests, such as visual fields, optic nerve analysis through use of a scanning laser, gonioscopy to assess the drainage structure of the eye, optic nerve photos, and a corneal thickness measurement.  

Glaucoma Treatment

The goal of glaucoma treatment is to lower intraocular pressure (IOP) and stop the damage to the optic nerve, which carries visual information to your brain for processing.

Glaucoma can be treated with eye drops, oral medications, laser surgery, traditional surgery, such as trabeculectomy, or a combination of these methods.  Recent advances in laser therapy have made the procedure so safe and effective that, for some patients, laser therapy is used instead of medications.

Diagnosis is the first step toward preserving your vision. Make an appointment today with Elmquist Eye Group at (239) 936-2020 to discuss glaucoma and to find out what treatment options may be available to help prevent further damage to your eyes.