Glaucoma Explained in Rhode Island

38 Services ( View All )

About Glaucoma

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, Wakefield, Warwick, and Woonsocket, RI.


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

Treatment Options

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.

Related Procedures

*Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary from person to person. Images may contain models.