Many of us don’t realize that our eyes have ‘pressure’ just like our blood. And when this pressure inside our eyes – known as intraocular pressure (IOP) – increases to dangerous levels, it can damage our optic nerve. This can result in decreased peripheral vision and eventually, blindness.
At Singla Eye Institute in Port Arthur, TX, we want patients to realize that Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness for patients between the ages of 18-65 years of age. On a national basis, it is estimated that approximately 3 million people have Glaucoma. But here is the most shocking part: Only half of those people with glaucoma actually know that they have it. You can learn more at www.Glaucoma.Org.
One of the most recent breakthroughs in glaucoma management has been the ability to combine glaucoma surgical treatment at the same time as cataract surgery. The procedure involves the world’s tiniest medical device called iStent, which is designed to help reduce the pressure build-up inside your eye. Not everyone is an ideal iStent candidate and it is not always the ideal treatment during cataract surgery. But if you have a family history of glaucoma or have been diagnosed with glaucoma and are considering cataract surgeons, our surgeons will most likely determine if implanting the iStent will relieve your eye pressure.
Even in the United States – where patients have access to the latest breakthroughs in diagnostics and surgical treatment for glaucoma – there are approximately 100,000 patients who are believed to be legally blind from glaucoma.
Glaucoma is similar to ocular hypertension, but with accompanying optic nerve damage and vision loss when your IOP becomes elevated. While most people are familiar with the eye disease Glaucoma, few are aware of why Glaucoma is such a significant threat to sight.
Recent estimates indicate that another 3-6 million people in the United States have higher than normal Intraocular Pressure (IOP), without obvious clinical signs of damage to the Optic Nerve. From this data, it is probable that there are another 1 million people who may have Glaucoma, but have not yet been diagnosed because they do not have access to eye care or even Glaucoma screenings.
The reason glaucoma is such a dangerous eye condition is that there are no symptoms to warn us that potential damage and vision loss from glaucoma could be happening. That’s why glaucoma is often referred to as ‘The Sneak Thief of Sight. And here is the worst part: Once vision loss from glaucoma has occurred, it is VERY difficult to restore.
Glaucoma begins without any symptoms or obvious loss of vision. Glaucoma is quite insidious in onset and, if not diagnosed and treated early in its course, will lead to progressive, permanent, and unnoticed vision loss. This is what makes it essential to diagnose and treat Glaucoma as early in its course as possible.
Because of the potential for vision loss without a warning sign, the physicians of Singla Eye Institute in Port Arthur are passionate about preventing blindness from glaucoma through early diagnosis and treatment.
Glaucoma is actually not a single disease, but is a term that is used to describe a broad range of eye problems that damage the Optic Nerve and potentially cause loss of vision. The pressure inside the eye is called Intraocular Pressure (IOP) and generally falls within some range that is considered “normal”. Many patients are under the impression that Glaucoma is simply due to a high pressure within the eye. While an elevated Intraocular Pressure can be one cause of Glaucoma, and in fact is the most common cause of Glaucoma, a high IOP may not be the only cause of Glaucoma. There are many possible causes of Glaucoma. Regardless of the cause, the various types of Glaucoma share a common factor-if not diagnosed early, treated properly and controlled, it will result in permanent vision loss and potentially blindness.
The eye doctors at Singla Eye Institute find that the most disturbing attributes of Glaucoma are that it begins with a slow onset and there is a lack of visual symptoms. This makes Glaucoma easy to overlook unless patients are consistent about having routine eye examinations with Glaucoma testing. For that reason, we strongly recommend regular eye examinations and thorough Glaucoma testing.
At Singla Eye Institute, our doctors recommend that all patients over 50 years of age who have no previous family history of Glaucoma or other general health conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure, be evaluated for Glaucoma every two years.
For patients who are African American or have a family history of Glaucoma, we recommend patients be evaluated for Glaucoma every year beginning at age 40. In addition, we now also know that there is considerable risk for siblings of those who have Glaucoma. In a recent Glaucoma Study (http://bjo.bmjjournals.com/cgi/content/abstract/90/1/59), it was reported that siblings of Glaucoma patients are 5 times the risk for developing Glaucoma by the age of 70 and therefore should be examined every year.
Fortunately, when detected early, glaucoma can be successfully treated. At Singla Eye Institute in Port Arthur, our eye physicians and staff provide the full scope of advanced technology diagnostic testing and treatment, as well as taking the time necessary to give you the personal education needed to fully understand your condition and to deliver the best possible outcomes for our patients.