Learn About the Stages of Glaucoma and How They Are Treated

Old Man having a Eye Consultation

Glaucoma is an eye disease that can harm your optic nerve, which is responsible for relaying visual information to your brain. When left untreated, glaucoma can lead to permanent blind spots and/or complete blindness. This is usually caused by elevated intraocular pressure in your eye from fluid buildup.

Initially, glaucoma doesn’t have any noticeable symptoms, which makes it important to have regular eye exams with Dr. James E. Croley III. While it cannot be cured, glaucoma can be managed with early diagnosis. At Cataract & Refractive Institute of Florida, our board-certified ophthalmologist uses state-of-the-art tools and techniques to help his patients in Lee County, FL to manage their disease.

Symptoms of glaucoma in eyes

The type of glaucoma you have will determine the symptoms you experience. Frequently, there will be no symptoms in the early stages. However, when your glaucoma begins to worsen, you may experience some. Some common glaucoma symptoms include:

  • Blurry vision
  • Eye pain
  • Tired eyes
  • Bloodshot eyes

Scheduling regular comprehensive eye exams with Dr. Croley at Cataract & Refractive Institute of Florida is extremely important in diagnosing it early enough to help manage vision loss.

What causes glaucoma in the eye?

Damage to the optic nerve is almost always caused by increased internal eye pressure because of poor drainage. In healthy eyes, aqueous humor in the eye can flow and drain properly. However, when it is blocked or slowed, fluid backs up and increases intraocular eye pressure. Glaucoma treatment can help correct this drainage problem and help resolve vision issues in Lee County, FL.

Diagnosing glaucoma

During your appointment, Dr. Croley will perform different tests to find out if you have glaucoma. First, he places eye drops into the eye to anesthetize it. Once it’s numb, he will begin his tests:

  • Tonometry: This calculates the pressure inside the eye
  • Pachymetry: Corneal thickness measurements will be taken.
  • Gonioscopy: The size of the angle between the iris and cornea is measured.

He also may look at the condition of your optic nerve, look at your peripheral vision, and test for any vision loss.

Stages of glaucoma

At Cataract & Refractive Institute of Florida, our team believes that glaucoma has five stages:

  • Stage 1: Glaucoma begins with any alteration to your drainage system, which leads to increased intraocular pressure.
  • Stage 2: This stage occurs when you first notice a change in the system, whether from eye pain or blurry vision.
  • Stage 3: When eye pressure increases significantly, you have advanced to this stage.
  • Stage 4: Stage 4 is when there is damage to the optic nerve that must be corrected.
  • Stage 5: The last stage is when there is some visual field loss.

During your visit to our Cape Coral, Lehigh, or Bonita Springs, FL offices, we can determine which stage you’re at after a diagnosis.

Glaucoma treatment

At Cataract & Refractive Institute of Florida, we perform a trabeculectomy to treat severe or advanced glaucoma. During this procedure, we create a small channel in the sclera (the white portion of the eye) to fully drain fluid to lower increased intraocular pressure. This new drainage opening is made at the edge of the iris in the upper portion of the eye beneath your eyelid. This glaucoma treatment helps to prevent further damage to the optic nerve and future vision loss.

Recovery from trabeculectomy

Once your procedure is over, we place a protective bandage over your eye to ensure optimal healing. This needs to be worn for the first 24 hours after surgery and put on the eye every night before bedtime for the next 2 – 6 weeks. Prescription eye drops and a topical anesthetic will be prescribed to help you control inflammation and reduce discomfort. Follow-up appointments are necessary with Dr. Croley to closely monitor your healing. Recovery takes about 2 – 6 weeks.

Stop optic nerve damage with glaucoma treatment

If you’re experiencing blurry vision or eye pain, it’s important to schedule an eye exam at Cataract & Refractive Institute of Florida. Dr. James E. Croley III specializes in diagnosing, managing, and treating glaucoma in patients throughout Lee County, FL. To learn more about glaucoma treatments, contact his Cape Coral, Lehigh, or Bonita Springs, FL office today.

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