Glaucoma refers to a group of diseases that affect the optic nerve of the eye. It is caused by excess pressure on the eye, most commonly from fluid buildup due to poor drainage. It predominantly affects people over the age of 60, although it is possible for younger people to develop it. Currently, approximately two million Americans have glaucoma, many of whom are undiagnosed. Glaucoma is a progressive disease that often has no symptoms until an individual has suddenly blurred vision or eye pain. While there is no cure for glaucoma, it can be prevented or slowed with early detection and the right treatment. However, if left untreated too long, it leads to vision loss that cannot be recovered.
This is one reason why regularly scheduled comprehensive eye exams are so important to your overall eye health. At Koch Eye Associates, we use state-of-the-art technologies and techniques in our fight against glaucoma. We encourage you to schedule an exam at one of our Rhode Island facilities today. We provide comprehensive eye exams at each of our locations in Johnston, North Kingstown, Providence, Wakefield, Warwick, and Woonsocket, RI.
"I first went to Koch Eye many years ago after being referred there for a follow up appointment after being treated at the emergency room for an eye injury, That was the only time I actually saw Dr. Koch himself (who was very nice by the way) It is only in the last few years (since my old lady eyes have begun to need reading glasses) that I have come in regularly for my eye exam and glasses prescription. I never have any problem with wait time because there are several optometrists. Really the only thing I am not crazy about is their hours. I wish it was possible to get an evening appointment or that there was an occasional Saturday. The office staff is pleasant and courteous"- I.C. / Yelp / May 09, 2019
"Kathy and Zach at Koch Vision Store are just terrific; very knowledgeable about selections and have great recommendations when one is considering lenses/frames."- J.M. / Google / Nov 22, 2019
"I had been going to Vision World/ Works for the last 20 years for eye exams, glasses, contacts. When I was last seen a few years ago I was told my eyes had weakened and I needed -6.0 in my left eye and -5.0 in my right, a substantial increase from -4.75 left and -3.75 right two years before. Needless to say I experienced hyperopia and needed readers for the first time. I wasn't able to read labels, see my phone, or use a laptop without readers of at least +2.5. I was recentl...y seen by Dr Besen at Koch Eye who prescribed contacts of -5.25 left and -4.25 right. I'm absolutely certain that Vision World had me in lenses that were too strong because now I can see my laptop without readers, and I can see my phone if I hold it at arms length. Not only can I see better (for distance as well as close up), but the entire experience of walking into Koch, being greeted by reception, having a preliminary exam by the optician assistants, receiving a full eye exam by the optometrist, being properly fitted for glasses by the optician, and checking out with reception, is exponentially superior with Koch. Clearly the entire staff enjoy their careers, and are friendly, professional, and completely competent. Thank you, Koch Eye Associates! I will recommend you to everyone I know. Sincerely, Kate Carroll"- K.C. / Facebook / Nov 13, 2019
"Everyone is always completely professional and so friendly and accommodating. Thank you Danielle, Nancy, Janine, Catherine, Jess and Dr. Fantoni! Highly recommend!"- J.M. / Google / Sep 13, 2019
"Koch Eye Associates saved my vacation. I was here from out of town and ripped my last contact lens. I was lucky I had my prescription with me and they had my lens in stock. In less than 20 minutes, I had a brand new lens and was on my way! Thank you Koch Associates for saving me from a very long ride home with only1 contact lens in my eyes. Very courteous friendly staff who were willing to listen and help and save my day!"- L.M. / Google / Aug 16, 2019
There are many types and degrees of glaucoma, and their symptoms range from nonexistent (initially) to severe. These symptoms most often include:
- Patchy blind spots in your peripheral and/or central vision
- Blurred vision
- Tunnel vision
- Rainbows and/or halos around lights
- Severe headache
- Nausea and vomiting
- Eye pain
- Eye redness
The cause of all types of glaucoma is the deterioration of the optic nerve, which leads to partial vision loss and eventually blindness if not treated. This deterioration is almost always caused by increased internal eye pressure, typically from fluid buildup. Scientific studies have shown that glaucoma can run in families due to a gene related to both optic nerve damage and high eye pressure. However, not all cases of glaucoma can be traced to eye pressure. Other factors that can increase the chances of developing glaucoma include:
- Taking corticosteroid eye drops for a long period
- Having diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease
- Being over 60 years old
- Having naturally high internal eye pressure
- Having thin corneal centers
- Being African-American, Hispanic, or Asian
At Koch Eye Associates, we understand that receiving a diagnosis of glaucoma can be unsettling and intimidating. However, with the help of our team of ophthalmologists specializing in glaucoma, you can significantly slow its progress and lead a healthy, normally functioning life.
Once the diagnosis of glaucoma is established or suspected, multiple treatment methods are available to patients. Since intraocular pressure is proven to cause optic nerve damage, pressure is the one aspect of the eye that the eye physician can treat. It is important that glaucoma is diagnosed early so that our doctors at Koch Eye Associates can prevent vision loss. Once vision loss has happened, there is no way to get it back, but our doctors can stop further vision loss.
Many patients who are in the very early stages can often slow or stop their vision loss with prescription eye drops. For patients whose disease is more advanced, more aggressive treatments, such as MIGS (minimally invasive glaucoma surgery) and traditional glaucoma surgery, have the potential to significantly improve the condition.
- Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT) is another early therapeutic option in open-angle glaucoma. It opens the blocked drainage channels in the trabecular meshwork, thereby facilitating fluid outflow from the eye. This two-minute procedure is painless and can be done in the exam chair at the slit lamp.
- Laser Peripheral Iridotomy is the treatment for narrow-angle glaucoma. This treatment allows the surgeon to make a small opening in the iris so that the fluid in the eye can drain. Like SLT, this is a one- or two-minute procedure that can be done in the exam chair at the slit lamp.
If laser treatment, eye drops, and oral medication are not sufficient in controlling pressure, surgical procedures can help drain fluid from the eye or decrease the amount of fluid produced. These include:
- Endoscopic Cyclophotocoagulation (ECP), which allows the laser surgeon to view the ciliary body through an endoscopic camera and apply the laser energy to treat the ciliary body so it reduces or stops the production of fluid.
- Trabeculectomy, which is a method of surgery where a small section of the trabecular meshwork is removed, allowing the aqueous to drain more easily.
Relieve Your Glaucoma
Glaucoma is a disease that the experts at Koch Eye Associates treat and manage every day. Though a glaucoma diagnosis is understandably alarming, early diagnosis and intervention by a team of extensively trained doctors can keep your symptoms under control. If you are starting to notice associated symptoms, have a family history of glaucoma, or have already received a diagnosis, please contact one of our Rhode Island facilities without delay. We can provide you with consistent, customized treatment and management to optimize your quality of life.