Glaucoma: Diagnosis & Treatment Options


Studies suggest that as many as 3 million Americans are currently living with Glaucoma. This potentially sight-threatening condition occurs as a result of an accumulation of intraocular pressure – this is the pressure within the eye itself. When this happens, it causes damage to the optic nerve, which is the part of the eye responsible for sending messages from the eye to the brain to tell us what we can see. If not treated, it can cause total vision loss.


To help you understand more here is what you need to know about glaucoma and what your options are if you are diagnosed with this common condition.


Types of Glaucoma


There are several different types of glaucoma, all caused by slightly different things. By far the most common is known as primary open-angle glaucoma. This type of glaucoma develops very slowly and is caused by the drainage channels that release tear film from the eyes becoming blocked and clogged. In many cases, this type of glaucoma develops over a number of years and isn’t generally diagnosed because you have symptoms but is identified at a routine eye exam.


Another type of glaucoma is known as the acute angle closed glaucoma. This is much less common and occurs when the drainage channels in the eye become blocked very suddenly. If this happens, the pressure within the eye rises extremely quickly and urgent action must be taken to lower it before irreversible damage is done to the optic nerve.


Secondary glaucoma is caused by underlying eye conditions such as uveitis, causing the pressure within the eye to become raised. Finally, childhood/congenital glaucoma is a very rare type of condition, seen in young children and caused by an abnormality of the eye.


Diagnosing Glaucoma


Diagnosing glaucoma isn’t necessarily a straightforward process. As we know, most cases develop very slowly and often, by the time any symptoms become noticeable, some damage to the optic nerve has already started to occur. Nevertheless, symptoms to be aware of include:

  • Loss of peripheral vision

  • Blurred vision

  • Halos or rainbow-colored circles around bright lights


If you are unfortunate enough to develop acute glaucoma, the symptoms will be very noticeable and come on suddenly. These include:

  • Intense eye pain

  • Nausea/vomiting

  •  Red eyes

  • Headache

  • Blurred vision

  • Tenderness around the eyes

As we know, in this situation, emergency assistance must be sought from your eye doctor.


The best way to have glaucoma detected as early as possible is to attend your regularly scheduled comprehensive eye exams. Glaucoma should form a standard part of this appointment, and this involves both checking your intraocular pressure and looking at the optic nerve to see if there are any abnormalities.


Treatment for Glaucoma


Regrettably, if you have already lost some of your vision as a result of glaucoma, it will not be able to be fully restored. However, you may be able to use glasses or contact lenses to help you see more clearly. You will also be given treatment to prevent your glaucoma from getting any worse. The type of treatment will depend on the type of glaucoma you have been diagnosed with.


Acute angle glaucoma must be dealt with very swiftly and you will immediately be given medication to reduce the amount of pressure in your eye. This will normally be followed by laser treatment, which works by preventing the further accumulation of fluid inside the eye. This laser treatment is carried out using a local anesthetic, and sedation may be possible if you are particularly nervous.


Open-angle glaucoma doesn’t need to be treated as an emergency, but you will still need to start on a treatment plan that will reduce the pressure inside your eyes. Eyedrops are usually the first thing that is prescribed, although there are many types and it can take several attempts to find a variety that works best for you. If eyedrops prove to be unsuccessful in lowering your intraocular pressure enough, you may be referred for laser treatment. This procedure is the same as is used in acute angle glaucoma, preventing any further accumulation of fluid inside the eye.


In some cases, both eye drops and laser treatment isn’t sufficient to remove the pressure inside your eyes. The final option is to undergo a surgery called a trabeculectomy, which involves using part of the drainage system within the eyes so that it works more effectively. This surgery will be discussed with you ahead of your procedure.



If you have further questions about the diagnosis and treatment of glaucoma, please don’t hesitate to contact our offices in Wapakoneta, OH to speak to us or to schedule a consultation.

In Touch

Contact Us