Sometimes referred to as the “silent thief of sight,” glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness in the U.S.
At Wicker Park Eye Center in Chicago, IL, we provide a range of treatments to control glaucoma and protect your vision.
So how do I know if I have this condition?
High Intraocular Pressure and More
Loss of Peripheral Vision
The most common form of the condition is open-angle glaucoma (also known as primary open-angle glaucoma), and it often presents no obvious symptoms until the disease has progressed. Over time, open-angle glaucoma causes irreversible blind spots in your peripheral vision.
Sudden Vision Changes
Acute angle-closure glaucoma, in contrast, occurs suddenly. Patients suffering from angle-closure glaucoma may experience intense eye pain, headaches, blurry vision, halos around lights, nausea, or vomiting.
High Intraocular Pressure
Most forms of glaucoma cause higher-than-normal intraocular pressure (IOP), which can damage the optic nerve. If you have high eye pressure, you are at an increased risk of developing glaucoma and should regularly attend eye exams.
Am I at risk of developing this condition?
Genetics Play a Role
While anyone can develop glaucoma, this condition is three to four times more likely to affect African Americans and Hispanics than non-Hispanic whites. This disease is also more common in patients over the age of 40.
Other factors that can increase your chance of developing glaucoma include:
- A family history of the condition
- Near- or farsightedness
- Thin corneas
- Previous eye trauma
- Poor blood circulation
High IOP and Optic Nerve Damage: The Relationship between Eye Pressure and Vision
Eye pressure is a delicate balance that is heavily influenced by aqueous humor, the fluid that fills the space between the cornea and the intraocular lens. When this fluid is overproduced or cannot properly drain from the eye, it causes increased eye pressure.
Pressure Damages the Optic Nerve
Over time, high intraocular pressure results in damage to the optic nerve. As the nerve deteriorates, blind spots begin to appear in your visual field. Left untreated, glaucoma eventually leads to blindness. In normal tension glaucoma (NTG), the optic nerve can become damaged in spite of normal intraocular pressure.
Schedule Your Glaucoma Exam Today
At Wicker Park Eye Center in Chicago, IL, our eye exams include a test for glaucoma. People under age 40 should undergo an eye exam every two to five years as recommended by an optometrist. Those over age 40 should have an exam every two to four years, and seniors should undergo an exam every one to two years.
If you are experiencing eye pain or impaired vision, Drs. Daniel Tepper and Parisha Shah can determine the cause of your issues and recommend conservative and effective treatments. Early intervention is key to preventing permanent vision loss, since elevated pressure can irreversibly damage your optic nerve. If you have risk factors for glaucoma or are experiencing any of the complications mentioned on this page, contact our Chicago office online or call:
"Professional Yet Friendly Eye Care."
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Take a closer look at how glaucoma affects the eye...
What steps can I take to protect my vision?
Exams and Healthy Choices
While you may not be able to prevent glaucoma entirely, there are steps you can take to detect it early and limit the effects on your vision.
Regular Eye Exams
Visiting our office at least once a year for an exam allows your doctor to identify warning signs of glaucoma and begin treatment early.
Studies have shown that higher levels of physical activity may lower your risk of developing glaucoma.
Researchers have found a link between smoking and glaucoma. Avoiding tobacco products may help lower your risk of developing glaucoma.
How do I find out if I have glaucoma?
We Can Diagnose This Condition during Your Regular Eye Exam
During your exam, we can use non-contact tonometry (NCT) to measure eye pressure. The test involves administering a gentle puff of air to the surface of your eye and takes less than five minutes to complete.
We may also use visual field testing to assess your peripheral vision and determine if you are experiencing any loss of vision. We can also use gonioscopy to check if the fluids in your eyes are draining properly.
What are my treatment options?
Advanced Solutions Tailored to Your Needs
Typically, medicated eye drops are the first treatment option for less urgent forms of glaucoma. Depending on your needs, we may recommend a drop that reduces fluid production or one that improves the drainage process.
The iStent is placed during a minimally invasive surgery to help those with either angle-closure glaucoma or open-angle glaucoma (sometimes called primary open-angle glaucoma). We place two tiny devices into the trabecular meshwork, which is the tissue responsible for draining aqueous humor from your eye. This procedure can allow fluid to drain properly so you can maintain proper IOP.
Selective laser trabeculoplasty also helps fluid drain from your eye. After your eyes are numbed, a specialized laser opens the meshwork during this surgery to improve the flow of fluid.
When used alongside other treatments, a healthy diet can promote eye health. We can recommend types of foods, such as leafy greens and fish, that can help protect your vision.
Do I really need a doctor?
Early Diagnosis Can Prevent Vision Loss
While angle-closure glaucoma presents sudden apparent symptoms, this disease is often a progressive condition that presents no early symptoms. This is often the case in open-angle glaucoma. The best way to prevent vision loss is to catch the disease before it can cause irreversible damage. Our team provides comprehensive eye exams and can identify risk factors and early signs of the disease before it is too late.
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