Optometrists located in Nye County, Pahrump, NV

Glaucoma is a serious eye disease that damages or destroys the optic nerve head, causing permanent loss of sight. Glaucoma causes few or no symptoms in its early stages, and although millions of people have the disease, many won’t know it until permanent vision loss occurs. As a top-rated optometry practice in Pahrump, Nevada, G. Dennis Leaks, OD, LTD, uses advanced technology to diagnose and manage glaucoma to help slow or prevent the progression of the disease. Anyone can develop glaucoma. Contact our office today to schedule an exam, and make sure you understand your risks.

Glaucoma Q & A

What is glaucoma?

Glaucoma is an eye disease that causes damage to the optic nerve, which is located at the back of the eye. The optic nerve takes vision information from the light-sensitive retina at the back of the eye and transmits it to the brain, where the information is interpreted into the images we see. When the nerve is damaged, vision information can no longer be transmitted to the brain, resulting in permanent loss of vision. Most glaucoma occurs when the pressure inside your eye -- called your intraocular pressure or IOP -- increases beyond normal limits. This pressure compresses the sensitive nerve and damages it. Although much less common, some types of glaucoma develop when the IOP is near normal. This type of glaucoma is called normal-tension glaucoma or low-tension glaucoma.

Are some people more at risk for glaucoma?

Yes, several risk factors have been identified that make it more likely you’ll develop glaucoma. These risk factors include:

  • Older age
  • Family history of glaucoma
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Thyroid disease
  • Heart disease
  • Long-term use of corticosteroid medications
  • Asian or African heritage
  • Personal history of other eye diseases, including inflammation, tumors, and retinal detachment

What kinds of symptoms does glaucoma cause?

Glaucoma typically causes no noticeable symptoms until some degree of permanent vision loss has occurred, earning it the nickname of “the silent thief of sight.” Having regular eye exams is the best way to diagnose the disease as early as possible, and comprehensive eye exams are especially important for anyone at an increased risk for glaucoma.

How is glaucoma diagnosed?

Your eye doctor diagnoses glaucoma with a comprehensive eye exam using special eye drops to dilate your pupils. The drops enable the doctor to assess the retina and the optic nerve located at the very back of your eye. During the exam, your doctor will look for subtle changes that are associated with early glaucoma, including low-tension glaucoma. You’ll also have a special test to measure the pressure inside your eye. The test may use a puff of air, or it may use a special device that rests gently on the surface of your eye.

How is glaucoma treated?

Most people with glaucoma benefit from special eye drops or oral medications to lower the IOP. In more advanced cases or where these options aren’t effective, your eye doctor may recommend a simple surgical procedure to improve drainage inside your eye so your IOP is reduced. The eye doctors at G. Dennis Leaks, OD, LTD, work closely with top local eye surgeons and can provide you with a referral when needed.