Glaucoma

We are committed to providing early detection and treatment that helps protect your eyes against serious vision loss due to glaucoma. Contact us today for testing and evaluation!
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PROUDLY PROVIDING HIGH QUALITY OPTOMERTRY SERVICES TO ELKRIDGE AND BALTIMORE AREAS!

At any given time, more than 3 million Americans are living with glaucoma. This incurable eye disease is one of the leading causes of blindness - not just in the United States, but worldwide as well. To reduce the risk of vision loss related to developing glaucoma, it's vital that all patients undergo regular eye exams and talk to their eye doctor about managing their personal risk via medications or healthy lifestyles. Only an eye specialist can look for signs of distress in the eye, and help you prevent damage that eventually leads to blindness.

At Bay Family Eye Care, we strive to provide high quality optometry services to the Elkridge and Baltimore areas. In addition to offering routine eye examinations, we specialize in glaucoma prevention, treatment, and management. We also guarantee that your visit will be made as comfortable and helpful as possible. All eyes are on you when you visit Bay Family Eye Care - so schedule an appointment online or call (410) 796-4555 today to set up your visit!

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FAQs on Glaucoma:

What is Glaucoma?

While often referred to as a singular illness, “glaucoma” actually refers to a group of multiple eye disorders. While each type of glaucoma presents a little differently, the illness typically has very few symptoms in its early stages. Each version of the illness also eventually leads to damage of the optic nerve (the bundle of nerve fibers that carries information from the eye to the brain), which is what can then lead to partial vision loss or complete blindness.

 

What are the Different Types of Glaucoma?

The most common types of glaucoma are:

  • Chronic (Open Angle) Glaucoma is caused by pressure building up due to a lack of fluid drainage within the eyes. This type of glaucoma can often develop due to aging, which can affect the eye's drainage functions.
  • Normal Tension Glaucoma can present in people whose eyes are abnormally sensitive, and react strongly to normal eye pressure levels. 
  • Acute (Angle Closure) Glaucoma occurs when the drainage system of the eye becomes completely blocked. This type of glaucoma results in a sudden spike in pressure, and requires emergency medical treatment. Though this condition can develop without symptoms, the signs are usually serious and may include blurred vision, severe headaches, eye pain, nausea, vomiting or seeing rainbow-like halos around lights.
  • Secondary Glaucoma occurs when another eye condition or disease (such as inflammation, trauma, or tumor) triggers inflammation and glaucoma-like symptoms in the eye.

 

What are the Symptoms of Glaucoma?

With the exception of angle closure glaucoma, this eye disease gradually chips away at a person’s overall vision and clarity. There are typically no early warning signs or painful symptoms related to this condition. Unfortunately, by the time a patient is aware of vision loss, the disease is usually quite advanced.

 

What Causes Glaucoma?

Glaucoma typically develops due to deterioration of the optic nerve, which leads to high fluid pressure on the front part of the eye. This deterioration, for the most part, seems to be linked to aging factors, as well as genetics and a family history of the disease. It is, however, possible for severe injuries, severe infections, blocked blood vessels in the eye, and inflammatory conditions to trigger glaucoma as well.

Certain risk factors can contribute to one’s risk of developing glaucoma. The strongest risk factors include high eye pressure; a family history of the disease; being African American and over the age of 40; being over the age of 60 for the general population; having a thin cornea; and having a suspicious medical history regarding changes to a patient's optic nerve. Very severe nearsightedness, diabetes, eye surgery or injury, having high blood pressure, and certain medications may also contribute (less strongly) to one’s risk of glaucoma.

 

What Can Be Done To Prevent and Treat Glaucoma?

  • Prevention: Individuals with a high risk for glaucoma should have a dilated pupil eye examination and a visual field test at least every one to two years, or as directed by a doctor. Glaucoma can affect anyone, however, so it's important for all individuals to work at preventing glaucoma by: maintaining a healthy weight; exercising daily; keeping one's blood pressure at healthy levels; not smoking; limit caffeine intake to moderate levels; using hats and sunglasses to protect one's eyes from sunlight; and at a minimum, scheduling a routine annual eye exam.
  • Treatment: Glaucoma can be treated with eye drops, pills, laser surgery, traditional surgery or a combination of these methods. The goal of any treatment is to prevent loss of vision, as vision loss from glaucoma is irreversible. Fortunately, glaucoma can be managed if detected early, and that with medical and/or surgical treatment, most people with glaucoma will not lose their sight.

 

How is Glaucoma Diagnosed?

Eye doctors may use one or a combination of several tests to detect glaucoma, including: 

  • A visual acuity test (which is used to determine the smallest letters you can read on a standardized chart) 
  • A visual field test (which measures central and peripheral vision, and looks for suspicious changes in both)
  • A dilated eye exam (which gives your doctor a better view of the back of your eye)
  • A tonometry procedure (which is used to measure fluid pressure inside the eye)
  • Pachymetry (which is used to measure the thickness of the eye's cornea)
  • Ophthalmoscopy (which allows an eye doctor to examine the internal structure of the eye)
  • Gonioscopy (which is an eye examination used to look at the front part of your eye)
  • Optic nerve imaging (which can help monitor and detect loss of optic nerve fibers)

Bay Family Eye Care may also use ultrasounds to document and monitor floaters in the eye that are related to a glaucoma diagnosis. Each test is non-invasive, and together a combination of these procedures can help doctors see what is going on inside your eyes.

 

How Do I Know Which Test(s) I Need?

Leave that to us! By bringing us a full medical history and family history, we can determine what tests you need during your visit. We will also provide feedback on future visits, and help you set up a regular testing schedule that will allow us to work together and keep an eye on your vision.

Ready to schedule an appointment? Our Bay Family Eye Care team is ready to meet you. Schedule an appointment online or call (410) 796-4555 today to set up your visit!

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