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Discuss Glaucoma with our NYC Optometrist

In the United States, approximately 120,000 people are blind from glaucoma. Glaucoma accounts for around 12% of the causes of blindness. Our leading NYC Optometrist Dr. Vu is telling us more about glaucoma, how to diagnose it, its risks, treatment, and why it is important to diagnose glaucoma early.

What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a group of eye conditions that damage the optic nerve. The optic nerve is a collection of neurotransmitters that acts like an electric cable sending information to the brain for visual interpretation. The optic nerve can become damaged either because of a higher or lower-than-normal pressure within the eyes and/or poor blood circulation to the optic nerve from vascular conditions like diabetes and hypertension. The optic nerve is vital for good vision.

Some common types of Glaucoma:

1 – Open Angle Glaucoma

With open-angle glaucoma, the intraocular pressure (IOP) of the eye rises because the normal amount of eye fluid cannot drain properly.  The drainage is called the angle and it lies between the cornea and iris which in the case of open-angle glaucoma is open but the trabecular meshwork within the angle is partially blocked. If it is not diagnosed and treated in the early stages patients will gradually lose peripheral vision because of the increased pressure that damages the optic nerve.

2 – Closed Angle Glaucoma

Closed-angle glaucoma is the result of the iris bulging forward which diminishes or blocks the drainage angle of the eye; formed between the cornea and iris. If this occurs, fluid cannot circulate correctly, and pressure increases. If the drainage angle gets completely blocked, eye pressure increases very quickly, this is known as an acute attackA patient with an acute attack needs to seek his/her ophthalmologist helps as fast as possible or he/she can go blind.

Some signs of acute attack:

  •         Sudden severe eye pain
  •         Sudden blurry vision
  •         Headaches
  •         Nausea
  •         Vomiting
  •         Seeing rainbow-colored rings or halos around lights

3- Narrow-Angle Glaucoma

Narrow-angle glaucoma occurs when the drainage angle, located between the iris and cornea becomes restricted much like closed-angle glaucoma as mentioned above, however, some patients are predisposed to narrow-angle glaucoma, they are but not limited to:

  • Older patients (older than 60) with dense cataracts
  • Asian and Indian descent
  • Family History of Narrow Angle Glaucoma
  • Hyperopia (far-sightedness)

Risk factors

Glaucoma can be diagnosed at any age, though it may be more common in adults over the age of 40. Risk factors include; family history, far-sightedness, high levels of near-sightedness, steroid responders, and vascular conditions like diabetes and hypertension.  During the early stages, patients are unaware that they are losing their peripheral vision because they simply turn their heads to see. That is why it is important to have annual comprehensive eye exams and screenings.  Remember there is no cure for glaucoma so it is best when diagnosed early for better control and management.” Says Dr. Vu, our leading NYC optometrist.


“Because we have an integrated eye care practice (Ophthalmologists and Optometrists under one roof) it is easier for us to diagnose and manage glaucoma treatment. To diagnose glaucoma, our doctors measure the eye pressure, inspect the eye’s drainage angle, examine your optic nerve, test your peripheral vision, and measure the thickness of the cornea” says Dr. Vu.


 There are a few different types of treatments for glaucoma including eye drops, laser treatment, and surgery.

Medication– It is very common for optometrists and ophthalmologists to prescribe eye drops. The eye drops will lower the pressure in the eye and prevent damage to the optic nerve.

Laser Treatment – It is a simple procedure that doctors can do in their offices. Lasers can either create an opening in a narrow or closed-angle or aid in the fluid drainage in the angle

Surgery – In case the medication and laser treatments do not work the ophthalmologist can perform surgery, placing implants to aid in reducing the pressure within the eye.

The importance of eye exams

“According to the World Health Organization, glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness in the world. Glaucoma can have no symptoms for a long period of time and when vision loss starts, it begins with peripheral vision. This means, if you have glaucoma you might not notice anything until significant vision loss or an acute attack. Therefore, getting a regular eye exam is important. It can help your eye doctor detect glaucoma in the early stages and start adequate treatment and management.  Early detection is key in preserving vision and avoiding irreversible vision loss.” Says Dr. Vu, our leading NYC Optometrist.

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