Glaucoma refers to a set of disorders that can harm the optic nerve, which has the important job of transmitting visual data to the brain. If not treated early enough, glaucoma will often lead to permanent blind spots and/or total blindness. It is nearly always caused by high intraocular pressure from fluid buildup. Glaucoma primarily impacts men and women over 60 years of age. Early on, glaucoma has no obvious symptoms and is commonly referred to as the "silent thief." At Kirk Eye Center, we have cutting-edge diagnostic methods and are highly trained in the most innovative management methods. Contact us in River Forest or Gurnee, IL to schedule your comprehensive exam and get in control of managing your ocular health.
The several types and degrees of glaucoma often don't have any symptoms at all in the initial stages. When glaucoma begins to progress, people might first notice changes, like decreasing peripheral vision and blurred vision. As the disease advances, symptoms can include rainbows around lights and tunnel vision. Since glaucoma doesn't usually show any symptoms at first, receiving regular comprehensive eye exams is critical.
All cases of glaucoma are caused by injury to the optic nerve. Usually, this injury is caused by increased intraocular pressure from problems with eye fluid drainage. In properly functioning eyes, the fluid needed by the eye tissue is allowed to flow back and forth via a special tissue, the trabecular meshwork, that exists between the iris and the cornea. For some patients, this flow can become blocked or extremely slow, which results in fluid buildup.
The most well-known types of glaucoma are diagnosed according to the condition of the trabecular meshwork and the width of the space between the cornea and iris. When fluid retention is happening because of a problem inside the trabecular meshwork, it is diagnosed as open-angle glaucoma. However, if the buildup is happening due to the space between the iris and cornea being too small or obstructed, this is called narrow- or closed-angle glaucoma. Studies have proven that pressure-related glaucoma can be hereditary. Besides heredity and the aging process, more factors that may impact internal eye pressure include extended use of corticosteroid eye drops, abnormally thin corneal tissue, ethnicity, and certain medical conditions.
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GLAUCOMA Diagnosis and Management
Our team conducts many important tests to establish if someone has glaucoma. After dilating the eyes, we will perform a full eye examination that may include several vision tests to check for any blind spots. There are several methods that can help control the condition by decreasing intraocular pressure to stop further trauma to the optic nerve. For patients in the earliest stage, prescription eye drops can be effective in stopping or slowing their vision loss. For those whose condition is more advanced, more intensive treatments, including MIGS (minimally invasive glaucoma surgery), laser procedures, and traditional glaucoma surgery, can potentially improve the condition significantly. Tyler Kirk, MD is a fellowship trained glaucoma specialist who is experienced in treating advanced and difficult to control glaucoma with the latest treatment modalities.
Take Control of Glaucoma
At Kirk Eye Center, we regularly meet with people with glaucoma to help them through managing the condition. It’s comforting to know that getting a diagnosis and intervention as early as possible can help you keep your glaucoma under control. Our office urges everyone who has potential symptoms, a family history of glaucoma, or an existing glaucoma diagnosis to set up an exam at our facility in River Forest or Gurnee, IL.