Sometimes referred to as the “silent thief of sight,” glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness in the U.S. At Wicker Park Eye Center in Chicago, IL, we provide a range of treatments to control glaucoma and protect your vision.
What are the symptoms of glaucoma?
Glaucoma Is Actually A Group of Eye Diseases
These eye diseases pose a threat to your vision by damaging the optic nerve, which is responsible for carrying impulses from the retina (the light-sensitive tissue that lines the back of the eye) to the brain. Many of these symptoms don't become apparent to the sufferer until permanent damage has occurred, which is why regular eye exams are so important. Symptoms of glaucoma can include:
- High intraocular pressure – Most forms of glaucoma cause higher than normal intraocular pressure (IOP), which can damage the optic nerve. If you have high eye pressure, you are at an increased risk of developing glaucoma and should regularly attend eye exams.
- Loss of peripheral vision – The most common form of the condition is open-angle glaucoma (also known as primary open-angle glaucoma), and it often presents no obvious symptoms until the disease has progressed. Over time, open-angle glaucoma causes irreversible blind spots in your peripheral vision.
- Sudden vision changes – Acute angle-closure glaucoma, in contrast, occurs suddenly. Patients suffering from angle-closure glaucoma may experience intense eye pain, headaches, blurry vision, halos around lights, nausea, or vomiting.
"I first saw Dr. Tepper over six years ago, after relocating from California. That’s where I discovered I had glaucoma in both eyes. I also have a thin cornea, so my eye pressure has to be a bit below "normal" to preserve my vision.The first ophthalmologist I saw in Chicago didn’t specialize in glaucoma. (Something his office failed to tell me when I made the appointment.) Turns out that was for the best. He referred me to Dr. Tepper and Dr.T. is fantastic!In Cali, I had been prescribed two very strong (and very expensive) drugs to keep my eye pressure from destroying my optic nerve and blinding me. Even so, Dr. Tepper told me right away that he thought I had been medicated too aggressively given my age and overall health (54 at the time). He asked me if I would consider alternate medications that are not as caustic.I went for it and he monitored the results. The bottom line is that my eye pressure remained under control just as well as it did with my previous "designer" meds! Also 10X cheaper! No exaggeration. The cost went from $300.00/Mo to $30.00/Mo.Because of Dr. Tepper, I was able to get off of two separate corporate drug assistance programs (which are bureaucratic nightmares) and just pay out of pocket. This really simplified my life. More than that, I’m getting first rate medical care. One visit I wondered out loud if my blood pressure was too high and Dr. T took a reading on the spot. I never had an ophthalmologist take my BP before! Dr. Tepper factors in all aspects of my health and fitness. He is not a shill for big pharma like a lot of doctors. He stresses a healthy lifestyle instead of solely relying on meds alone. He also shares info about leading edge treatments, studies and breakthroughs relevant to my condition. His practice is busy, but Dr. Tepper never makes me feel like he is in a hurry to see another patient. He is extremely personable and sincere. Because of this and his expertise, I referred my mom (age 95) to Dr. T. She is super picky about doctors and SHE chose Dr. Tepper for cataract surgery. That says it all!"- R.M. / Yelp / Aug 24, 2018
"Five Stars - Very patient. Answered all my questions. Fantasic vision with new eyeglasses. Friendly staff. Explained glaucoma and cataracts in ways I could easily understand. Would recommend his office to anyone!"- Anonymous / Vitals / Aug 15, 2009
"Dr. Tepper took me of glaucoma meds that my previous doctor prescribed to me. He effectively controlled my eye pressure with meds that were much less caustic and much less expensive. Dr. Tepper is very through and attentive. He is also just a sincerely good person. Highly recommend him."- R. / Healthgrades / Jan 21, 2020
Am I at risk of developing this condition?
Genetics Play A Role
While anyone can develop glaucoma, this condition is three to four times more likely to affect African Americans and Hispanics than non-Hispanic whites. This disease is also more common in patients over the age of 40.
Other factors that can increase your chance of developing glaucoma include:
- A family history of the condition
- Near- or farsightedness
- Thin corneas
- Previous eye trauma
- Poor blood circulation
The Relationship Between Eye Pressure And Vision
Eye pressure is a delicate balance that is heavily influenced by aqueous humor, the fluid that fills the space between the cornea and the intraocular lens. When this fluid is overproduced or cannot properly drain from the eye, it causes increased eye pressure.
Pressure Damages the Optic Nerve
Over time, high intraocular pressure results in damage to the optic nerve. As the nerve deteriorates, blind spots begin to appear in your visual field. Left untreated, glaucoma eventually leads to blindness. In normal-tension glaucoma (NTG), the optic nerve can become damaged in spite of normal intraocular pressure.
How do I find out if I have glaucoma?
Comprehensive Eye Exams
During a comprehensive eye exam at our Chicago practice, your doctor will test your eye pressure to identify any signs of glaucoma. This exam will also test your visual acuity (the sharpness of your vision), how well your eyes can track moving objects, depth perception, the condition of the retina and other inner structures of the eye, and other important aspects of your ocular health.
We use advanced technology to detect glaucoma and other conditions in the earliest stages when they are often easiest to treat.
What are my treatment options?
Tailored to your needs:
- Eye Drops: Typically, medicated eye drops are the first treatment option for less urgent forms of glaucoma. Depending on your needs, we may recommend a drop that reduces fluid production or one that improves the drainage process.
- iStent®: The iStent is placed during a minimally invasive surgery to help those with either angle-closure glaucoma or open-angle glaucoma (sometimes called primary open-angle glaucoma). We place two tiny devices into the trabecular meshwork, which is the tissue responsible for draining aqueous humor from your eye. This procedure can allow fluid to drain properly so you can maintain proper IOP.
- SLT: Selective laser trabeculoplasty also helps fluid drain from your eye. After your eyes are numbed, a specialized laser opens the meshwork during this surgery to improve the flow of fluid.
- Nutritional Options: When used alongside other treatments, a healthy diet can promote eye health. We can recommend types of foods, such as leafy greens and fish, that can help protect your vision.
Treatment can reduce the risk of blindness.
Treatment innovations have lowered the probability of glaucoma-related blindness by half since 1980.
*According to a study published in 2011
At Wicker Park Eye Center, we are equipped to help you control glaucoma and protect your vision.
What are the most common signs of glaucoma?
For many patients, glaucoma may present no symptoms and often go undiagnosed. But some of the most common signs of glaucoma include:
- Pulsing eye pain
- Redness in the eye
- Blurry vision
- Halos around lights
- Dilated pupils
- Nausea and vomiting
Can you go blind from glaucoma?
While you can go blind from glaucoma, with today's modern treatments like MIGS surgery, trabeculectomy, and medications, blindness caused by glaucoma is very rare.
Is there a cure for glaucoma?
There currently is no cure for glaucoma. However, with early detection and treatment, the progression of glaucoma can be greatly slowed to help preserve eye health and healthy vision.