Glaucoma is often called the “silent thief of sight” because it usually has no symptoms and can literally steal your vision before you know it. This disease affects about 3 million Americans and 67 million people worldwide. It is a leading cause of blindness in the United States, particularly among the elderly population. If you are seeking a glaucoma doctor in South Carolina please feel free to read more about the various types of glaucoma and inquire with our practice regarding treatment options.

Types of Glaucoma

There are various types of glaucoma including: Chronic open-angle glaucoma, Congenital Glaucoma, Secondary Glaucoma, Chronic angle-closure glaucoma and Angle-closure glaucoma.

Not every type of Glaucoma is the same or will have the same impact on your life. If you have been diagnosed with Glaucoma please make sure to familiarize yourself with the different types of glaucoma listed below. The doctors at Ocean Eye are happy to provide additional information regarding your specific type of glaucoma and what this will mean to your life.

Chronic open-angle glaucoma:
This is the most common type of glaucoma. The drainage angle, where the fluids in the eye drain, is open, but working less efficiently. The inability to drain causes pressure within the eye to rise, which results in a gradual loss of side-vision. This can be likened to an air filter, which gathers dust over time & eventually becomes too laden with dust to work properly.

Angle-closure glaucoma:
This type of glaucoma occurs when the drainage angle is completely blocked, often by the iris. This prevents any fluid to drain from the eye & causes the pressure within the eye to suddenly rise. This extreme rise in pressure causes blurred vision, headaches, severe eye pain as well as the appearance of halos around lights.

Chronic angle-closure glaucoma:
This is painless and more gradual closing of the drainage angle, which occurs most frequently in people of African or Asian descent.

Secondary Glaucoma:
This type of glaucoma progresses very much like chronic open-angle glaucoma. It occurs when scar tissue blocks the drainage angle. The first symptom is loss of side-vision.

Congenital Glaucoma:
This is a birth defect, which affects the drainage angle. To prevent blindness, this condition must be treated shortly after birth. Symptoms include enlarged eyes, a cloudy cornea, light sensitivity and excessive tearing.

Preventative Measures:
Most people are not aware that lifestyle is definitely related to risk of glaucoma. Again the risks for heart disease are implicated in glaucoma risk. Type II Diabetes and glaucoma can have a positive association as well. Protective recommendations are to maintain an ideal body weight with consistently normal blood pressure readings as well as developing an exercise plan.

Your physician may order a glaucoma evaluation because of the following findings during the eye exam:

  • Elevated Intra-Ocular Eye Pressure (IOP)
  • Large optic nerve measurements that are suspicious of glaucoma
  • Family History of Glaucoma (especially parents and/or siblings)
  • Various Other findings that may lead to glaucoma

Testing Needed to Diagnose and Manage Glaucoma:

Visual Field Testing- This type of testing generally takes about 6 minutes per eye and evaluates your peripheral vision for damage due to glaucoma. Your doctor may follow you more frequently to monitor for changes due to glaucoma.

IOP Testing- Performed using a Goldmann Tonometer to ensure the most accurate readings are obtained.

Gonioscopy- A special type of lens used to ensure outflow of intraocular fluid is normal.

Retinal Photos- Retinal Photography using a specialized camera is used to obtain the highest resolution of the optic nerve and retina. This type of photography is different than the Optos Retinal Imaging Camera that our office utilizes for routine exams.