Early diagnosis is the key to successful treatment and control of glaucoma and the prevention of blindness. A complete eye exam including eye pressure evaluation and optic nerve evaluation is essential. (please see what to expect from complete eye exam section). The best way to prevent vision loss from glaucoma is by having regular eye exams with one of our doctors.
The North Dakota Eye Clinic is equipped with state-of-the-art instruments that are used to diagnose, follow and treat glaucoma. This includes visual field testing, optic nerve analysis (OCT) and photos, corneal thickness (pachymetry), and gonioscopy. Special treatment options include eye drops, SLT or ALT laser, laser iridotomy, trabeculectomy, and more.
Most glaucoma is open-angle glaucoma. The disease is a result of pressure inside the eye that is too high for the optic nerve to tolerate. This results in damage to the nerve which then causes a loss of side or peripheral vision. Unfortunately, there is no pain or other symptoms until after vision loss has occurred. It is a leading cause of blindness, but if caught early it can be controlled. If you are over 40, you should have an eye exam by a doctor every year. If you are African-American, or you have a family member with glaucoma, you are at a higher risk for developing glaucoma. You should have your eyes examined and eye pressure checked every year.
Narrow-angle glaucoma is much less common and is very different from open-angle glaucoma in that eye pressure usually goes up very fast. There is usually severe pain in the eye or brow ache over the eye, along with redness, swelling, halos around lights and blurred vision. If not treated promptly, this glaucoma produces blindness in the affected eye in a short period of time.