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Hawaii Vision Specialists

Ophthalmology & Optometry located in Hilo, HI

Glaucoma is a serious eye condition that can cause blindness if you don’t get treatment. More than 3 million Americans suffer from glaucoma, but 50% of sufferers don’t even know they have it. Because of this, it’s especially important that you get regular vision exams and appropriate treatment when you need it. Hawaii Vision Specialists in Hilo, Hawaii, offers state-of-the-art treatments to help you preserve your vision and your quality of life. To learn more, call to book an appointment.

Glaucoma Q & A

What is glaucoma?

Glaucoma is an eye disease in which the pressure in your inner eye rises due to slow drainage. This extra fluid in your eye puts pressure on your optic nerve and can eventually cause vision impairment and even blindness if untreated.

There are two main types of glaucoma: open-angle glaucoma and closed-angle glaucoma. In open-angle glaucoma, which is the most common type, the drainage network in your eye gets clogged. Since you continue producing inner-eye fluid, this can eventually cause a backup similar to a clogged drain.

In closed-angle glaucoma, your eye's drainage angle is too narrow, which means you can't drain fluid as normal. A narrow drainage angle is especially dangerous because it can totally stop draining suddenly, which can quickly cause a dangerous rise in eye pressure.

Both types of glaucoma are serious health problems, and they require prompt treatment to preserve vision.

What are the symptoms of glaucoma?

In the beginning, glaucoma is symptomless. This means that it's important to have vision exams regularly. Your eye doctor can recognize early signs of glaucoma during a comprehensive exam, even if it's too early to notice any symptoms.

As glaucoma progresses untreated, you'll likely experience a gradual reduction in your peripheral vision. Over time, that vision loss will grow more pronounced, and you can potentially go blind without treatment.

How is glaucoma treated?

Although glaucoma isn't curable, it's very manageable. Hawaii Vision Specialists offers several options. Your treatment will depend on your type of glaucoma, your symptoms, and your history. For some glaucoma patients, prescription eye drops are enough to control eye pressure.

If the eye drops aren't sufficient, your doctor may prescribe oral medications to reduce the pressure. However, if medication isn't successful, a surgical procedure might be needed, such as:

  • iStent®: An implant that's placed during cataract surgery to lower eye pressure
  • Xen® Gel Stent: An implant that reduces eye pressure from open-angle glaucoma
  • Selective laser trabeculoplasty: A laser procedure that lowers eye pressure
  • OMNI™ Glaucoma Treatment System: A two-in-one, minimally invasive procedure that reduces eye pressure and opens drainage canals

To maintain healthy eye pressure, you may need to continue medication after your surgery. With the team at Hawaii Vision Specialists, you can beat the symptoms of glaucoma and enjoy the best vision possible.

To get help with glaucoma, call Hawaii Vision Specialists to book an appointment.