Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that can cause vision loss and blindness by damaging the optic nerve, the bundle of nerve fibers that connects the retina with the brain. It is often caused by fluid build-up on the front part of the eye that causes pressure on the eye and can damage the optic nerve.  Even though glaucoma is normally painless, this damage is irreversible. The best form of detection is through regular eye exams and if you suspect you are experiencing symptoms, timely treatment is critical.

Glaucoma diagram

Types of Glaucoma

 

  • Open-angle, the most common type
  • Low-tension or normal-tension
  • Congenital

Acute angle-closure glaucoma produces more noticeable symptoms because there is a quick buildup of pressure.

  • Blurred or narrowed field of vision.
  • Severe pain in the eyes.
  • Haloes or “rainbows” around lights.
  • Nausea and/or vomiting.
  • Headache.

If you notice any of these symptoms, get medical attention immediately.

If you think you might have glaucoma, come see us for a complete eye exam. Your UCHealth eye health care provider will take your complete medical history and examine your eyes, and may do the following tests:

  • Visual acuity test: The common eye chart test measures how well you can see at various distances.
  • Refraction: Helps your doctor determine the prescription you might need.
  • Tonometry: This standard test measures the fluid pressure inside the eye.
  • Pupil dilation: The pupil is widened with eye drops to allow a close-up exam of the eye’s retina and optic nerve.
  • Visual field: This test measures your peripheral vision. Lost peripheral vision may indicate glaucoma.
  • Ocular coherence tomography (OCT): This test examines your optic nerve fiber layer, which can help your doctor make a diagnosis.

Eye doctor adjusting otoscope for an eye exam testing for glaucoma

If you have glaucoma, these tests will help determine which type you have, which in turn helps dictate the treatment you need.

Anyone can develop glaucoma, so you should get regular eye exams. However, some people are at higher risk than others.

The risk factors for glaucoma are:

  • Race: Glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness for African-Americans.
  • Age: People ages 60 and older are more at risk for developing glaucoma.
  • Family history: People with a family history of glaucoma are more likely to develop the disease.
  • High fluid pressure inside the eyes: People with a high fluid pressure inside the eyes are at an increased risk.

Anyone in these risk groups should get a complete eye exam on a regular basis.

Glaucoma is a serious condition, but there’s hope. Fortunately, most patients can be helped with drops alone. With early detection and treatment, the chance of losing your vision is very low. Our team approach ensures you’ll get the right treatment for your eyes through:

Types of treatment for Glaucoma

  • Eye drops.
  • Laser surgery.
  • Additional surgery in rare cases. Our surgeons are experienced in all of these procedures, including minimally invasive glaucoma surgery (MIGS).
Doctor conducting eye surgery for glaucoma

Regular eye exams are key

Glaucoma is usually a painless disease, so you should get regular eye checkups even if you don’t have any symptoms. Let us help you keep to a regular eye health schedule, and you can prevent the problems of glaucoma. Your future looks brighter indeed.

Glaucoma Care

Dr. Malik Kahook MD, Ophthalmologist | UCHealth

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Dr. Malik Kahook

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“As an ophthalmologist, I enjoy getting to know my wonderful patients and working together with them as a team to determine the best individualized treatment plan for each person.”

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