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Lowcountry Eye Specialists

Ophthalmologists located in Ladson, SC

If left untreated, glaucoma can cause vision loss, and it’s actually one of the leading causes of blindness in people over 60. At Lowcountry Eye Specialists in Ladson, South Carolina, board-certified ophthalmologists Jay Thompson, MD, Phelan Piehota, DO, and their highly trained team offer glaucoma screening and treatment to maximize eye health and reduce your risk of blindness. Call the office to schedule an eye exam or book an appointment online today.

Glaucoma Q & A

 What is glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a disease of the optic nerve. The optic nerve is part of the eye that carries the images we see from the eye to the brain. The optic nerve is made up of many nerve fibers (like an electric cable containing numerous wires). Glaucoma damages nerve fibers, which can cause blind spots in our vision and vision loss to develop. When the clear liquid called the aqueous humor-which normally flows in and out of the eye- cannot drain properly, pressure builds up in the eye. The resulting increase in intraocular pressure (IOP) can damage the optic nerve - thus causing glaucoma. 

What are the symptoms of glaucoma?

There are usually no early symptoms linked to glaucoma. Signs and symptoms you might notice as the disease progresses include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Eye pain
  • Blind spots
  • Tunnel vision
  • Rainbow halos
  • Red or swollen eyes
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea

The best way to protect against glaucoma’s damaging effects is to attend routine eye exams every year or at the first sign of new symptoms. 

What are the risk factors for glaucoma?

While anyone can get glaucoma, certain factors boost your risk of developing it. Examples include:

  • Older age
  • Family history of glaucoma
  • High intraocular pressure
  • African American ancestry
  • Optic nerve problems
  • Diabetes
  • Cataracts
  • Eye tumors
  • Eye inflammation
  • Eye injuries
  • Eye infections
  • Blocked intraocular blood vessels

Healthy lifestyle habits, protecting your eyes from damage, and properly managing any chronic diseases can reduce your risk of glaucoma. 

How does my eye doctor diagnose glaucoma?

To find out if you have glaucoma, our doctors evaluate your vision, examine your eyes, and test the pressure within your eyes. 

Your ophthalmologist may use imaging procedures to get an in-depth picture of your eye health before developing a treatment plan.

How is glaucoma treated?

Lowcountry Eye Specialists providers offer a variety of treatments for glaucoma to save your eyesight. Examples include:

Eye drops

Eye drops will help reduce pressure inside your eyes. You might use eye drops for life to prevent glaucoma-related complications.

Oral medicines

Taking medications by mouth is another glaucoma treatment your eye doctor may recommend if eye drops alone don’t bring your eye pressure down to a normal range.

Laser surgery

Laser surgery can be performed in the office to lower eye pressure. your eye doctor uses a laser to stimulate the natural drain in your eye to increase the amount of fluid drained, which lowers eye pressure. 

Traditional eye surgery

Conventional eye surgery is another option for treating glaucoma. Your provider might recommend it if medications and laser therapies haven’t worked or if you’re not a candidate for less invasive procedures. 

To get screened for glaucoma and other eye diseases at Lowcountry Eye Specialists, call the office or request an appointment online today.