Glaucoma Diagnosis & Treatment in Lafayette

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The Silent Thief of Sight

Glaucoma is sometimes referred to as the silent thief of sight. Most forms of glaucoma develop slowly and without symptoms, meaning the disease can cause irreversible vision loss before you even know you have it. Regular eye exams are the best way to detect glaucoma early and protect your sight.

Types of Glaucoma

Glaucoma is characterized by progressive damage to the optic nerve.

Primary open-angle glaucoma is the most common form of glaucoma. It’s also painless and develops slowly, making it difficult to detect without an eye exam. Primary open-angle glaucoma happens when the eye’s drainage system no longer works properly, preventing fluid from draining from the eye. As the fluid builds up, the eye’s pressure increases. Prolonged elevated intraocular pressure causes damage to the optic nerve and vision loss.

Normal or low-tension glaucoma causes optic nerve damage, despite the eye pressure remaining at a normal level. Unlike other forms of glaucoma, there is no obvious cause. It’s not totally understood how this type of glaucoma happens, although it could be due to a sensitive optic nerve or a reduced blood supply to the optic nerve.

Angle-closure glaucoma is much less common than primary open-angle glaucoma, but it is much more sudden and severe. Angle-closure glaucoma happens when the drainage angle in the eye suddenly closes or becomes blocked. Fluid from the eye can’t drain properly, causing a sudden buildup of pressure, with optic nerve damage and vision loss. This type of glaucoma is a medical emergency and needs to be treated immediately to lower the eye’s pressure. It causes severe pain and vision loss, often within 24 hours.

Secondary glaucoma results from an eye injury or other eye disease. It can be caused by a number of medications, medical conditions, or eye injuries, particularly blunt trauma to the eye that causes bruising. Secondary glaucoma resulting from trauma can occur immediately or years later.

How Glaucoma is Diagnosed

A number of techniques used during an eye exam can help determine if you have glaucoma. First, your personal and family health history can help determine your risk for glaucoma and whether you have any symptoms. Your optometrist will discuss your family history of the disease, medical history (including risk factors like diabetes), and if you have any symptoms like peripheral vision loss or glare.

Tonometry is a test used to measure the pressure inside the eye, also known as intraocular pressure (IOP). An increase in intraocular pressure can be a sign of glaucoma, including the most common type, primary open-angle glaucoma.

A visual field test will help determine whether you are experiencing vision loss. Peripheral vision loss is a key indicator of glaucoma, as it will be the first area of vision damaged as the optic nerve is damaged. It’s also more difficult to detect when compared with central vision loss.

Retinal imaging can help detect retinal irregularities as well as irregularities in the optic nerve. Damage to the optic nerve can be seen on retinal images and can help diagnose glaucoma, particularly normal-tension glaucoma, which can’t be diagnosed using tonometry (as there is no increase in intraocular pressure).

Glaucoma Treatment Options

The recommended treatment options will depend on the severity and type of glaucoma.


Medicated eye drops can help reduce pressure in the eye. Depending on each unique case, a single medication or a combination of medications might be recommended. The exact prescription will depend on the type, cause, and stage of the glaucoma, as well as tolerance to glaucoma medications.

Laser Surgery

Laser surgery for glaucoma is known as trabeculoplasty. A high-energy laser stimulates the trabecular meshwork (the structure that drains fluid from the eye) to help fluid drain more efficiently. The results can be temporary, so some patients need repeated treatments.


If medication and laser surgery aren’t successful, surgery known as a trabeculectomy can be another option. During this surgery, a drainage filtration flap is created in the sclera, the white of the eye. The drainage flap provides another way for fluid to drain, increasing drainage efficiency and reducing the pressure.

Drainage Implants

Drainage implants are another option to increase drainage efficiency and reduce IOP. A small implant is inserted into the eye to help drain fluid. This option is typically recommended for people with uncontrolled glaucoma.

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