Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness in the United States. It is extremely important to be screened for glaucoma because once vision is lost, it cannot be regained. However, progression of the disease can be halted by lowering the pressure of the eye.
There are many different types of glaucoma and most of them are related to different ways in which the eye pressure can rise. Treatment is usually accomplished with drops which lower the eye pressure. It is important to continue to monitor the pressure over time as drops can lose their effectiveness and more drops may need to be added. For some people, drops are not enough and surgery is required to lower the eye pressure sufficiently. There are also laser treatments which can lower the pressure.
Damage from glaucoma affects the peripheral vision first. It is usually a subtle change in vision for most people and by the time they realize their vision is decreasing, a substantial part of their visual field may be forever lost. The damage causes changes to the optic nerve which can be seen by an eye specialist.
The most important information to know about glaucoma is that everyone should be tested. If glaucoma is found, follow-up appointments will be made. Dr. Payant is an optometrist trained to detect, monitor and medically treat glaucoma. Drs Merfeld, Larson and Raven are ophthalmologists and surgeons who can also give laser and surgical treatments for glaucoma.