Glaucoma silently and painlessly steals your eyesight

A man using eye drops

Stop the progression of glaucoma with advanced treatments from Eye Specialists of Louisiana.

Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness in the United States and is commonly referred to as ‘the silent thief.’

Nearly 50 percent of people with this condition don’t even realize they’re slowly going blind.

What Is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a group of eye conditions that damage your eye’s optic nerve and steal your eyesight. Glaucoma is often asymptomatic, and its effects are gradual, so you may not experience any warning signs until this eye disease is advanced.

This is one of the many reasons to check your eyes regularly—even if you don’t need corrective lenses. Early detection and careful, lifelong treatment can (in most cases) help you maintain your eyesight.

Eye Specialists of Louisiana recommend this screening schedule for glaucoma

  • under 40, every 2-4 years
  • age 40-54, every 1-3 years
  • age 55-64, every 1-2 years
  • over 65, every 6-12 months

Common Risk Factors for Glaucoma

While the exact cause of glaucoma remains unknown, several risk factors may increase your risk, including

  • Aged 60 and older
  • African American or Hispanic descent
  • Elevated or high eye pressure
  • Family history of glaucoma
  • Extreme nearsightedness (more than -5.00) or farsightedness (more than +5.00)
  • Medical conditions like diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and sickle cell anemia

Common Types of Glaucoma

All types of glaucoma can damage the optic nerve in your eye.

The fluid inside your eye, called aqueous humor, typically flows out of your eye through a mesh-like channel. For those with glaucoma, this channel gets blocked, and the liquid builds up, causing excess pressure in the eye. This extra pressure damages your vision by destroying the optic nerve that sends images to the brain.

When this happens, peripheral (side) vision is lost first, and if left untreated, vision loss progresses toward the center of your visual field. This can lead to blindness within a few years.

There are several types of glaucoma eye disease. Here are the two most prominent

Open-angle glaucoma

Open-angle means the angle where the iris meets the cornea is as wide and open as it should be. Open-angle glaucoma develops slowly and is a lifelong condition that accounts for nearly 90% of all cases in the United States.

It is caused by the slow clogging of the eye’s drainage canals, leading to increased pressure in the eye and optic nerve damage. In severe cases, symptoms may include patchy blind spots or tunnel vision in one or both of your eyes.

Angle-closure glaucoma

Angle-closure glaucoma is less common and occurs when the angle between the iris and cornea is narrower and more closed than it should be. This results in blocked drainage canals, noticeable symptoms, and damage resulting from a sudden rise in intraocular pressure.

Symptoms include

  • Severe headache
  • Eye pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Blurred vision
  • Halos around lights
  • Eye redness

If you experience one or more symptoms of acute angle-closure glaucoma, go to your nearest emergency room immediately.

Safe, Effective Surgical Options for Advanced Glaucoma

Eye Specialists of Louisiana is highly skilled in the following state-of-the-art treatments

  • Selective laser trabeculoplasty (SLT)
    SLT helps relieve excess pressure on the optic nerve and increases fluid outflow. It is a painless, repeatable laser procedure that can be an effective alternative to eye drops in early open-angle glaucoma.
  • Laser peripheral iridotomy (LPI)
    Angle-closure glaucoma, or closed-angle glaucoma, occurs when the iris bulges forward and narrows or stops the aqueous fluid from draining properly. This procedure creates a small hole in the iris, allowing it to fall away from the drainage angle and unblock the drain.
  • Endoscopic cyclophotocoagulation (ECP)
    Endoscopic cyclophotocoagulation is a relatively new laser treatment option for glaucoma. In this procedure, the ciliary body (portion of the eye responsible for producing fluid) is targeted with a precision laser. The energy generated by the laser effectively reduces fluid production and, therefore, intraocular pressure and any complications it can create.
  • Tube-shunt surgery
    For this procedure, a flexible plastic tube with an attached silicone drainage pouch is placed in the eye to help drain excess fluid (aqueous humor).

Protect Your Eyesight With Eye Specialists of Louisiana

Protect your eyesight from silent thieves like glaucoma eye disease with regular, comprehensive eye exams.

To learn more about our surgical treatment options for glaucoma or to schedule an appointment, please call 225-768-7777. Our board-certified physicians look forward to helping you see clearly again.