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Fort Scott

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Pittsburg

Glaucoma

The Silent Thief


Glaucoma is a disease that slowly destroys the delicate nerve fibers that carry signals from the back of the eye to the brain. Generally, high pressure within the eye is responsible for the damage, but even patients with normal pressure can experience loss of this important nerve function due to glaucoma.

While glaucoma typically affects people age 40 and older, it can strike at any age. Glaucoma is called “the silent thief” because there is no pain or noticeable changes in vision during the early stages of the disease. That is why it is important to be checked yearly to be sure that glaucoma is not present. Because it can be inherited, if one family member has glaucoma, other family members should be checked.

What is glaucoma?

The eye has about one million tiny nerve fibers that carry visual information from the back of the eye to the brain. Glaucoma destroys these nerve fibers. It was once thought that the destruction of these fibers was due to high pressure within the eye, but we now know that even patients with normal eye pressure can have glaucoma and experience loss of this important nerve function.

What are the symptoms of glaucoma?

Because it usually does not cause pain or immediate changes in vision, glaucoma often goes unnoticed in its early stages. If you have glaucoma, you probably won’t notice any warning signs or symptoms until your vision has suffered irreversible damage.

How is glaucoma diagnosed?

Because early detection is so important in limiting the vision loss associated with glaucoma, regular eye examinations are recommended. Elevated pressure within the eye and other indicators of glaucoma can be detected during a thorough examination.

Am I at risk for glaucoma?

Glaucoma typically affects people over the age of 40, but it can occur at any age. Everyone is at risk for glaucoma, but some groups are at higher risk than others. Family members of those already diagnosed with glaucoma, African-Americans, Asian-Americans, diabetics, and those who are severely nearsighted or who have suffered severe injury to the eye are all at elevated risk. Early detection is the key to slowing or halting the progression of this disease.

Can glaucoma be cured?

We currently have no cure for glaucoma. There are, however, several treatment options. Medication, usually in the form of eye drops, can help to relieve pressure within the eye. Another option is the revolutionary SLT (Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty) procedure that makes it possible to correct an underlying condition that contributes to elevation of pressure within the eye. Dr. Quinlan can explain treatment options in more detail.

Can I prevent glaucoma?

No, but regular eye exams can make it possible to prevent much of the vision loss caused by glaucoma. Dr. Quinlan is among the area’s most experienced glaucoma specialists, and is dedicated to providing the most advanced techniques and equipment to help preserve the vision you need to live life on your terms.


Treating Glaucoma

While there currently is no cure for glaucoma, there are several treatment options. Medication, usually in the form of eye drops, can help to relieve pressure within the eye. Another option is the revolutionary SLT (Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty) procedure that makes it possible to correct an underlying condition that contributes to elevation of pressure within the eye. Dr. Quinlan can explain treatment options in more detail.

What is SLT?

Dr. Quinlan may recommend SLT (Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty), a laser treatment for open-angle glaucoma that can be performed in the office to reduce pressure within the eye. SLT targets only specific cells containing the pigment melanin. This treatment lowers pressure by stimulating the body's healing response, which increases the drainage of fluid from the eye. The SLT procedure takes only a few minutes to perform. Before the procedure begins, drops are placed in the eye to prepare it for treatment.

What do I do next?

Call Quinlan Eye Center today at 620-223-0200 to schedule an eye exam that includes glaucoma screening. Stop this “silent thief” of vision in its tracks!