Rocky Mountain Eye Center
Ophthalmology & Optometry located in Missoula, Hamilton, Butte & Helena, MT
Glaucoma is the second-most common cause of blindness worldwide. Ophthalmologist Roger Furlong, MD, specializes in treating glaucoma at Rocky Mountain Eye Center locations in Missoula, Hamilton, and Butte, Montana. Early diagnosis is the best way to slow or prevent vision loss from glaucoma, so call or book an appointment online today.
Glaucoma Q & A
What is Glaucoma?
The eye diseases that encompass glaucoma cause damage to your optic nerve. This damage usually occurs when fluid builds up and increases the pressure in your eye. Without treatment, glaucoma causes progressive vision loss and eventual blindness.
What are the Different Types of Glaucoma?
The two major types of glaucoma include:
- Open-Angle Glaucoma: Open-angle glaucoma is the most common type of the disease. This typically happens when the eye doesn’t drain fluid properly, which causes eye pressure to increase gradually. Open-angle glaucoma doesn’t cause pain or vision changes at first. As the disease progresses, you may develop patchy blind spots in your peripheral (side) vision. Most people don’t notice these vision changes until significant damage has already occurred.
- Acute Angle-Closure Glaucoma: This type of glaucoma comes on suddenly and is considered an eye emergency. Symptoms of an acute angle-closure glaucoma attack include -
- Eye redness
- Severe headache
- Sudden blurry vision
- Nausea and vomiting
- Pain in the eye or forehead
- Seeing halos or rainbows
You should call Rocky Mountain Eye Center immediately if you experience these symptoms.
What Tests Might I Need for Glaucoma?
At Rocky Mountain Eye Center, Dr. Furlong performs numerous tests to evaluate and monitor glaucoma. Depending on your needs, testing for glaucoma may include:
- Tonometry to measure your intraocular (inner eye) pressure
- Pachymetry to measure your corneal thickness, which affects intraocular pressure
- Gonioscopy to check the drainage angle for eye fluid
- Visual fields test to monitor changes in areas of vision loss
Dr. Furlong may also take imaging tests to detect or monitor changes in your optic nerve or optic disc. These include optical coherence tomography, which scans your optic nerve, and optic disc photos.
How is Glaucoma Treated?
Treatment cannot reverse eye damage from glaucoma. However, regular checkups and early treatment at Rocky Mountain Eye Center can help slow the progression of the disease and even prevent vision loss.
The first line of treatment typically involves prescription eye drops, which help reduce eye pressure. Other treatments include laser therapy and surgical procedures, such as:
- Selective laser trabeculoplasty to open clogged drainage channels
- Trabeculectomy surgery, which creates a new opening for fluid to drain
- Surgically inserting a small tube shunt to assist with fluid drainage
For early diagnosis and treatment of glaucoma, call Rocky Mountain Eye Center or book an appointment online today.
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