Glaucoma is an umbrella term for eye conditions which cause a loss of vision by damaging the optic nerve, usually caused by excess fluid pressure within the eye. Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness for people over 60 years old, and can also inflict younger people with a family history of the disease. Because people with glaucoma usually do not display any symptoms in the early stages, it is often not detected until it is in a moderate to severe stage. Regular eye exams are essential for early detection and prevention of optic nerve damage and blindness.
Dr. Kawai says “the first line of treatment for all patients is an eye drop regimen, which is usually pretty effective at reducing eye pressure and thereby reducing glaucoma-related damage to the optic nerve. We monitor patients with glaucoma closely to make sure we’re seeing improvement or stabilization of the disease.” For more severe stages of the disease, laser or conventional surgery by a specialist can prevent further loss of vision.