Glaucoma is a condition caused by a number of different ocular disorders, all of which result in damage to the optic nerve at the back of the eye. The optic nerve is responsible for carrying images from the retina to the brain. This damage is usually, but not always the result of elevated pressure inside the eye. Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness in the United States. It is estimated that 2.5 million Americans over the age of 40 have glaucoma. Perhaps more concerning, is the fact that 2 million people in the United States have glaucoma and are unaware of their disease.
In most cases, glaucoma begins with little or no symptoms. It usually causes gradual damage to the optic nerve, so that the loss of vision isn't noticed often until severe damage has occurred to the optic nerve. The good news is that glaucoma is treatable, especially when detected at an early stage. In addition to a thorough dilated ophthalmic examination, Dr. Filer utilizes state of the art technology such as scanning laser ophthalmoscopy to aid in the diagnosis and management of glaucoma. This cutting edge technology helps to detect glaucoma up to 8 years earlier than older testing methods.
There are many risk factors for glaucoma including family history, diabetes, high blood pressure, myopia, migraines and trauma. One of the most important risk factors for the development of glaucoma is elevated intraocular pressure (IOP). People with increased IOP's are at an increased risk for glaucoma. Early diagnosis and treatment are essential, as any vision that is lost to glaucoma is irreversible
Treatment for glaucoma is focused on reducing the pressure inside the eye. Initial treatment usually consists of eye drops, in many cases just once a day. More advanced cases of glaucoma require multiple medications, and often laser treatments or glaucoma surgery.