All About Glaucoma

Image of a group of older people wearing glasses.

Glaucoma is a serious disorder that can damage the optic nerves of your eyes if left untreated. The optic nerve carries images from your eyes to your brain. If the nerve is damaged, full or partial vision loss can occur. In some cases, people develop glaucoma because the pressure in their eyes begins to increase while, in others, ocular (eye) pressure is not an issue.

Although the word "glaucoma" is used as a blanket term to describe this condition, there are actually several different forms of the disorder.

Primary Open Angle Glaucoma

This type of glaucoma occurs when you produce too much aqueous humor, the clear liquid that fills your eyeball, or when channels that drain the aqueous humor become blocked. In both cases, pressure in your eye begins to increase, which can lead to optic nerve damage. If you do not have a glaucoma test at your optometrist's office regularly, you probably will not know that you have primary open angle glaucoma until you begin to notice problems with your side, or peripheral, vision.

Acute Angle Closure Glaucoma

Acute angle closure glaucoma occurs due to a sudden blockage in the drainage channels in the eye. Eye pressure rises quickly, causing severe pain, redness, decreased vision and nausea. If you develop any of these symptoms, go to the emergency room immediately. If the problem is not corrected promptly, you may experience permanent vision loss.

Normal-Tension Glaucoma

In normal-tension glaucoma, optic nerve damage occurs even though the pressure in your eye remains at normal levels. The first sign that you have this form of glaucoma is often tunnel vision.

Less Common Forms of Glaucoma

Pigmentary glaucoma occurs when a tiny piece of pigment breaks loose from your iris and blocks the drainage channels in your eye while secondary glaucoma develops after an eye infection or injury. Some children are born with congenital glaucoma, an inherited form of the disorder.

Who Gets Glaucoma?

Although anyone can get glaucoma, some people have an increased risk of developing the disorder. Your chances of getting glaucoma may be higher if:

  • You have structural abnormalities in your eyes.
  • You are very nearsighted or have a family history of glaucoma.
  • You are over 60, or are black, Hispanic or Asian.
  • You recently had an eye infection or eye surgery.
  • You have sickle cell anemia, diabetes, heart disease or high blood pressure.
  • You take corticosteroids.

How Is Glaucoma Treated?

Optometrists prescribe a variety of eye drops that work by either decreasing fluid production or improving drainage. In some cases, oral medication also helps lower the pressure in your eye. Surgery can help improve drainage in your eye and is the recommended treatment if you suddenly develop acute angle closure glaucoma. Both traditional and laser surgery is used to treat the disorder.

How Can I Find Out If I Have Glaucoma?

Yearly eye checkups can help you avoid vision loss due to glaucoma. Since symptoms do not usually occur until there is already damage, frequent glaucoma tests are a must. Optometrists use several painless screening tests. Tonometry measures the pressure inside your eye while visual field testing tests your peripheral vision.

Special eye drops that dilate the pupils allow doctors to take a close look at your eyes and spot any signs that could indicate that you have glaucoma. Optic nerve imaging provides a picture of your nerve and is useful for spotting changes or damage.

Concerned that you are at risk for glaucoma? Call us today to schedule an exam and testing.

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Culpeper Office

Monday:

10:00 am-6:00 pm

Tuesday:

Closed

Wednesday:

10:00 am-6:00 pm

Thursday:

10:00 am-6:00 pm

Friday:

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Saturday:

10:00 am-3:00 pm

Sunday:

Closed

King George Office

Monday:

Closed

Tuesday:

10:00 am-6:00 pm

Wednesday:

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Thursday:

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Friday:

10:00 am-6:00 pm

Saturday:

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Sunday:

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Testimonials

Reviews From Our Satisfied Patients

  • "Dr. Press CARES about his patients, insurance or not AND he is the most thorough eye doctor I have ever been to. The prescription he gave me, made me see correctly, once again, I am so thankful. Dr Press and his staff are great!"
    Katrin H
  • "I'm so glad I changed eye doctors. I had been going to Dr. H by the hospital for a long time and he had given me a prescription for contacts that I tried and tried to wear with no success. Dr. Press gave the right "size" contacts and was able to walk out wearing the contacts with no problem! He has great manners and even took my blood pressure! Glad to have finally found a knowledgeable Optometrist I can SEE in a regular basis."
    Ines P
  • "I recently needed to change my vision prescription and was finally in need of bifocals. I went to see Dr. Miles Press for both convenience (local eye doctor) and because he accepted my insurance. I needed to have vision in my right eye adjusted several times, and several right lenses replaced. Dr.Miles Press worked tirelessly to make sure my vision was correct and I was never charged for each subsequent visit or lens replacement. I've never had an eye doctor like that before, that really cares and is fast and on the ball with knowledge to get you the correct prescription. He also cared that I went with Progressive lenses over bifocals because they provide three fields of view and eliminate the annoying line. To sum it up, an eye doctor that treats you like he would his own family is a rare experience. I will continue to go to Dr. Miles Press as long as he is in business and accepts my insurance. No question."
    Thomas C
  • "I didn't know my vision could change, and I also didn't know that I could see the world more clearly than how I was already seeing it! Dr. Press was professional and very helpful and educating! Highly recommend!"
    Karla N
  • "Dr. Miles Press was very professional, knowledgeable, and friendly. He explained a lot about my eye care that no Dr. has ever taken the time to do."
    Wendy S