What is glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a group of diseases that can damage the eye’s optic nerve. It is a leading cause of blindness in the United States. It usually happens when the fluid pressure inside the eyes slowly rises, damaging the optic nerve. Often there are no symptoms at first. Without treatment, people with glaucoma will slowly lose their peripheral, or side vision. They seem to be looking through a tunnel. Over time, straight-ahead vision may decrease until no vision remains.

A comprehensive eye exam can detect glaucoma. Risk factors include age, race and family history. People at risk should get eye exams at least every two years including: 

  • African Americans over age 40 
  • People over age 60, especially Mexican Americans 
  • People with a family history of glaucoma

There is no cure, but glaucoma can usually be controlled. Early treatment can help protect your eyes against vision loss. Treatments usually include prescription eye drops and surgery.

Source: NIH: National Eye Institute

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Patient Stories

Betty Stover patient

Renewed Vision for Congenital Glaucoma Patient

Betty Stover suffered from a rare eye condition, congenital glaucoma, and was left legally blind in both eyes. Betty was referred to Thomas Mauger, MD to see if she was a candidate for a procedure called a Keratoprosthesis (K-Pro). After the surgery, Betty was surprised by the immediate improvement to her vision.

“Since the surgery, I can get back to doing some of things I did before. I’ve even joined a reading circle.”
Jerry Colp

Laser Surgery Saved Jerry’s Vision

Glaucoma had severely damaged Jerry Colp’s vision and the disease was progressing rapidly. Jerry met with Paul Weber, MD to try to save the remaining sight in his right eye. Through laser surgery, his vision was saved. Since his initial surgery, he has contributed funds to the Institute to acquire new research and clinical imaging equipment to advance the study of glaucoma as well as other vision-threatening conditions.

“With this equipment, my hope is that the doctors will be able to save the eyesight of many, many people.”
Our Providers

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