Glaucoma is actually a group of diseases. Known as the “sneak thief of sight,” the disease progresses slowly, with few symptoms, until vision loss occurs. Left untreated, it causes blindness. The good news is that vision loss is almost always preventable, if the disease is detected and treated early. The specialists at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, part of the University of Miami Health System, are here to help.
How does glaucoma happen? In some people, the normal fluid pressure inside the eyes (intraocular pressure or IOP) increases because the aqueous humor fluid – which usually flows in and out of the eye – is unable to drain. Over time, this fluid buildup damages the optic nerve, the structure that sends visual signals from your eyes to your brain. Some people with normal pressure (IOP) also get the disease – that’s why regular eye exams are so important.
In the early stages, most forms of this disease have no symptoms. Depending on the type and stage, symptoms may include blinds spots, tunnel vision, blurred vision, headaches, eye pain, nausea and vomiting, halos around lights and eye redness.
There are several forms of this disease:
- Open-angle glaucoma, the most common, occurs when the drainage angle formed by the cornea and iris remains open, partially blocking the trabecular meshwork. This meshwork acts like a sieve, draining fluid back into the bloodstream.
- Angle-closure or closed angle glaucoma, happens when the iris bulges forward and narrows or blocks the drainage angle of the cornea and iris. In this case, fluid can’t circulate through the eye and pressure increases.
- Normal-tension glaucoma is not caused by eye pressure. People with normal pressure can get this disease, so annual eye exams are important.
- Pigmentary glaucoma happens when pigment granules from your iris build up in the drainage channels, slowing or blocking fluid from leaving your eye.
- Pediatric glaucoma is rare, but appears in some infants, children and adolescents.
- Congenital glaucoma occurs in children born with eye defects that slow normal fluid drainage. Both diseases affecting children require prompt medical attention to prevent blindness.
Are you at risk for this disease? Consider these risk factors:
- Being 60+ years old
- Family history of the disease
- Being African American
- Injury to the eye
- Complications from another disease, such as diabetes
The vision experts at Bascom Palmer provide early, accurate diagnosis and proper medical management to prevent vision loss from glaucoma.
Why Chose Bascom Palmer Eye Institute?
University-Based Specialists. We not only diagnose and treat glaucoma, our physicians and scientists actively develop advanced technologies to diagnose the disease and perform research on the molecular level. Our patients have opportunities to participate in clinical trial studies of emerging treatments.
Tomorrow’s Treatments Today. You have access to sophisticated technologies and doctors who keep you informed of the latest treatment breakthroughs.
Child-Specific Care. If your infant or child has this disease, Bascom Palmer is the place to be. In 2016, we opened the Samuel & Ethel Balkan International Pediatric Glaucoma Center, the world’s first center dedicated to infants and children with this serious condition.
Patient-Centered Care and Support. This chronic disease requires ongoing medical care and management. In the process of caring for you, our eye care professionals get to know you as a person, not just a patient. They provide the expertise, education and support you need to manage your condition.