Ophthalmology houston

Older man playing with grandchild

Since September is Healthy Aging Awareness Month, it only makes sense to share some helpful information about one of the diseases that aging seriously affects in our eyes – Glaucoma.

When diagnosed with Glaucoma, many of our patients wonder, “Will glaucoma cause me to go blind?”

The answer to this question is yes, if you continue without treating it correctly.

Without proper treatment, glaucoma will eventually cause you to go blind.

Want to learn about what Glaucoma is exactly?  Visit our glaucoma page.  Note that there are multiple types of glaucoma. The most common form of glaucoma, primary open angle glaucoma causes vision loss, which is very slow, but silent and progressive. Closed angle or angle closure glaucoma is less common, but it can result in quicker vision loss.

Although open angle glaucoma usually progresses SLOWLY over a span of several years, studies have shown that in a period of 20 years, 15% of patients can end up blind in at least one eye.*  This is even with treatment!

Our mission is to encourage patients to stay true to their treatment and consistently stay ahead of this disease by having regular eye examinations.

Is glaucoma damage permanent?

Unfortunately, nerve damage from glaucoma is permanent, so treatment is focused upon saving remaining vision.  This is why catching glaucoma early is so important.

Is there a cure for glaucoma?

There is not a cure for open angle glaucoma, but appropriate management can often prevent blindness if started early enough.  There are potential cures for angle closure glaucoma in its early stages, and this changes from person to person based upon anatomy.

Is there a way to prevent glaucoma?

Unfortunately, there is currently no known way to prevent glaucoma, but it can be managed.  Since it can run in families, those whose parents or siblings have glaucoma should be checked regularly.  However, significant loss of vision or blindness caused by glaucoma can be prevented if the disease is recognized in its early stages!  The goal of glaucoma management is to prevent damage to the nerve, by lowering the intraocular pressure, or IOP.  There is no “perfect” IOP.  Some eyes can even have continued damage at an otherwise normal pressure.  The only way to know is to monitor pressure and nerve function closely over time.

As we have shared above, blindness and loss of vision can occur even when you have undergone the best treatment. However, proper treatment and follow-up will help prevent or slow progression and stabilize the pressure of the vast majority of patients who have been diagnosed with glaucoma.

Is glaucoma related to cataracts?

Most glaucoma is not significantly related to cataracts.  However, cataract surgery, especially when paired with a MIGS (minimally invasive glaucoma surgery) procedure to open the eye’s internal drain, can help by lowering the eye’s pressure, sometimes reducing the need for glaucoma eye drops.  Dr. Stephen Slade and Dr. Bennett Walton both perform minimally invasive glaucoma surgery, either at the time of cataract surgery or by itself.

The biggest factor in the treatment of your glaucoma is you.

If you take your diagnosis seriously, use your eye drops consistently, and follow up with your eye doctor consistently, you are much more likely to have a favorable outcome!

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with glaucoma or you are experiencing any loss of vision or blurred vision, please do not hesitate to call our office at 713-626-5544 or write us at info@visiontexas.com today. Remember, the sooner you detect it, the safer you will be in the long run!

* Susanna, Jr., R.,  Gustavo De Moraes, C., Cioffi, G., & Ritch, R. (2015).  Why Do People (Still) Go Blind from Glaucoma?  Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4354096/