Glaucoma is one of the most common causes of blindness around the world. However, with early detection and treatment, you don’t have to lose your eyesight. At Legacy Eye Care, with two offices in South Hill and additional locations in Chester and Colonial Heights, Virginia, the dedicated team of experienced optometrists provides glaucoma screening, monitoring, and treatment using the most advanced technology. Call the office nearest to you, or book online to schedule your appointment today.

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What is glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a serious eye disease that can cause vision loss. However, with early detection and treatment, you can prevent progression and avoid blindness.

The most common type of glaucoma, open-angle glaucoma, occurs when a blocked drainage canal in the eye prevents fluid from flowing out of the eye normally. This leads to high pressure against the back of your eyeball, including excessive pressure on the optic nerve that relays visual messages to your brain.

Eventually, optic nerve damage leads to peripheral (side) vision loss. Generally, this happens very slowly over many years.

Another type of glaucoma, acute angle-closure glaucoma (closed-angle glaucoma), develops when your iris (the colored portion of your eye) blocks drainage in your eye. This causes sudden and significant eye pressure.

What are the symptoms of glaucoma?

Unfortunately, closed-angle glaucoma doesn’t cause symptoms until it progresses to later stages. You won’t know if you have glaucoma unless you have routine comprehensive eye exams. Untreated closed-angle glaucoma can eventually cause symptoms such as:

  • Eye pain
  • Red eyes
  • Halos around lights at night
  • Headaches
  • Difficulty seeing in bright or dark environments
  • Decrease (or total loss) of peripheral vision
  • Tunnel vision

Acute angle-closure glaucoma is different because it causes sudden symptoms like overwhelming eye pain, usually with nausea and vomiting. This type of glaucoma is a medical emergency because it can lead to blindness in only a matter of hours.

How is glaucoma diagnosed?

Legacy Eye Care screens for glaucoma during comprehensive eye exams. These tests include peripheral vision testing, eye pressure check, and a pachymetry test to check corneal thickness. All tests are completely painless and take just 15-20 minutes.

Everyone needs a comprehensive eye exam once a year. If you have certain risk factors like a family history of glaucoma, prior cataract surgery, head trauma, smoking, extra weight, or sleep apnea, the team may recommend more frequent exams.

If you’re diagnosed with glaucoma, the team uses their state-of-the-art Triton™ Swept Source OCT machine, which allows them to see the back of your eye in detail and helps to monitor your optic nerve over time.

How is glaucoma treated?

Glaucoma treatment involves regular check-ups as well as eye drops. Prescription eye drops can improve fluid drainage, decrease your eye’s production of fluids, or ultimately reduce your eye pressure.

In some cases, eye drops aren’t adequate, so you may need oral medication to control your eye pressure. If conservative care doesn’t help, the Legacy Eye Care team may refer you to an ophthalmologist for laser therapy or minimally invasive eye surgery.

If you need to screen for glaucoma or treat its symptoms, you can find glaucoma screening, monitoring, and treatment at Legacy Eye Care by calling or booking online for the nearest office in South Hill, Chester, or Colonial Heights, Virginia.