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Glaucoma: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Older woman with blue eyesGlaucoma is not a single disease, but rather a group of conditions, all of which result in damage to the optic nerve. While glaucoma cannot be cured, it can effectively be managed, and its symptoms can be controlled. However, the complexity of this group of disorders requires the care of an experienced ophthalmologist with special training in the treatment of glaucoma.

Dr. Richard Gordon of Ramapo Ophthalmology Associates is a fellowship-trained glaucoma subspecialist in Pomona, NY, who provides patients throughout the greater Rockland County area with glaucoma treatment of unsurpassed quality. Using the most advanced diagnostic technologies available, Dr. Gordon creates customized treatment plans for his patients, comprising the most conservative approaches that will produce the best possible results.

Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness among people above the age of 60. The key to preventing vision loss due to glaucoma is early detection and timely treatment. Dr. Gordon has helped countless patients to preserve their precious vision by diagnosing this silent thief of sight in its earliest stages and identifying precisely the right course of treatment in their unique cases. He would welcome the opportunity to do the same for you. Please contact Ramapo Ophthalmology Associates today to schedule your initial consultation with our renowned glaucoma subspecialist.

Glaucoma Risk Factors

In its earliest stages, glaucoma tends to be asymptomatic, meaning that it does not exhibit clear symptoms. Therefore, it is important to be aware of the risk factors associated with glaucoma and to have your eyes routinely screened if you are at risk of developing the condition.

There is an elevated risk of developing glaucoma among patients who:

  • Have a family history of glaucoma
  • Are over age 40
  • Have abnormally high IOP
  • Have corticosteroid sensitivity
  • Have diabetes, myopia, or high blood pressure

Video: About Glaucoma

 
 
 

Dr. Richard Gordon of Ramapo Ophthalmology Associates in Pomona, NY, discusses the symptoms and results of glaucoma. Our team provides glaucoma patients with topical treatments, laser treatments, and surgery. We help our patients manage their glaucoma to help prevent further damage to the optic nerve.

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Types of Glaucoma

While there are several types of glaucoma, the two predominant types are open-angle and closed-angle glaucoma.

Open-angle glaucoma is the most common form. It occurs when fluid drains too slowly from the channel between the iris and the cornea. When left untreated, this can result in a progressive buildup of IOP, which can produce few or no symptoms until it has caused permanent damage to the optic nerve.

Closed-angle glaucoma is less common. It occurs when the drainage canal is completely blocked, and often requires immediate treatment.

Symptoms of Glaucoma

The most common symptoms of open-angle glaucoma include:

  • Compromised peripheral vision 
  • Tunnel vision, usually in later stages

Closed-angle glaucoma symptoms can include:

  • Ocular discomfort
  • Sudden compromise in vision
  • Nausea
  • Redness in the whites of the eyes

It is estimated that more than three million Americans have glaucoma. However, because glaucoma often presents no symptoms until it reaches advanced stages, only about half of sufferers know they have it. Therefore, it is recommended that everyone undergo a comprehensive eye exam once in their 20s and twice in their 30s. Patients should undergo an exam at age 40, during which Dr. Gordon can recommend further exam intervals.

If you have been diagnosed with glaucoma, you should undergo examinations with a glaucoma specialist three to four times per year.

Treatment Options

If you have been diagnosed with glaucoma, we are prepared to help. For less advanced cases, we can prescribe eye drops or oral medications that stimulate proper circulation and reduce IOP. For more advanced cases, our ophthalmologists may recommend a surgical procedure to improve drainage.

To treat open-angle glaucoma, we can insert a tiny device called an iStent®, which is used to increase the flow of fluid from the eye. Other options include trabeculectomy (surgical creation of a drainage canal that allows aqueous fluid to drain out of the eye, into the tears) and trabeculoplasty (surgical removal of tissue to improve drainage). Patients with closed-angle glaucoma can be candidates for a laser iridotomy, in which a laser is used to create a small hole in the outer edge of the iris.

Dr. Gordon will review the various treatment options available to you based on your needs, and help you make an informed decision about your treatment.

Learn More about Glaucoma

If you are experiencing glaucoma symptoms, have received a glaucoma diagnosis, or need to establish a relationship with a specialist who can monitor your vision, contact us today.