Glaucoma refers to a group of eye diseases that cause damage to the optic nerve, which attaches the eye to the brain. Caused by an increase in intraocular pressure, there is no cure, but it can be delayed and managed. Lack of treatment can lead to deteriorated vision or blindness. At NorthShore, we work with our patients to ensure quick and accurate diagnosis, and create a personalized care plan to slow the progression of the condition.
The different forms of glaucoma are:
- Open-angle – The most common form, which occurs when the eye's drainage angle is blocked and fluid builds up, usually occurring in both eyes and progressing gradually.
- Closed-angle – Occurs when the iris blocks fluid from draining. Symptoms appear suddenly in one or both eyes. This is a medical emergency.
- Normal-tension – When the optic nerve is damaged, but intraocular pressure is normal.
- Congenital – A rare form caused by a genetic defect that appears in infants and young children.
- Pigmentary – Pigments from the iris break off and block the drainage angle.
Symptoms of Glaucoma
Symptoms do not often appear until the condition has progressed into an advanced stage. Your ophthalmologist will look for the following:
- Cloudy-looking eyes
- Blurred vision
- Watery eyes
- Sensitivity to light
- Halos in vision
- Increasing blind spots (typically starting in peripheral vision, and moving center when the condition has progressed)
Symptoms associated with closed-angle glaucoma, which requires immediate medical attention include:
- Severe eye pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- Halos in vision
- Rapid changes in vision
Glaucoma Screening and Diagnosis
Our team of ophthalmologists realizes the importance of an efficient diagnosis in order to prevent the progression of glaucoma. Along with your medical history, our staff uses the following as part of our screening process:
Treatment Options for Glaucoma
Though glaucoma cannot be cured, The NorthShore Eye and Vision Center offers a variety of options for managing symptoms and keeping your vision intact. We work with you to determine the best medication, including prescription eye drops or pills to lower intraocular eye pressure, as well as glasses and contact lens prescriptions to accommodate changes in vision. Our surgical team uses the latest technology to ease symptoms using the following procedures:
- Laser Iridotomy - Uses a laser to create a small opening on the edge of the iris to allow fluid to drain from the eye.
- Trabeculectomy - A surgical procedure to remove tissue from the drainage angle.
- Laser Trabeculoplasty - A procedure to create an opening within the eye for better fluid drainage.
- Shunt surgery - Inserting a small implant with a drainage tube underneath the eye's surface to drain fluid.
- Sclerostomy - Laser treatment that removes a piece of the white of the eye (sclera) to improve drainage.
- Goniotomy - Creating a surgical opening within the eye's meshwork to allow proper drainage.
For More Information
For more information on glaucoma, or to schedule an appointment with an ophthalmologist, please contact 224.251.2020.