What is Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a group of related eye diseases that cause damage to the optic nerve.  This damage causes a loss of vision.  Without yearly eye exams Glaucoma can become a "silent killer of sight".

Types of Glaucoma

  • Primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG) - This common type of glaucoma causes peripheral vision loss without any symptoms.  

  • Narrow-angle glaucoma - Produces sudden symptoms such as eye pain, headaches, halos around lights, dilated pupils, vision loss, red eyes, nausea and vomiting.  Narrow-angle glaucoma attacks in waves that can last a few hours or can be continuous.     

  • Normal-tension glaucoma - Pressures in the eye will be normal with this type of Glaucoma but patients will progressively lose sight.  The cause of Normal-tension glaucoma is not really know but may be related to poor blood flow to the optic nerve.

  • Pigmentary glaucoma - This is a rare form a glaucoma.  It is a caused by a piece of  pigment in the iris breaking off and clogging the drainage canal.

  • Secondary glaucoma - This form of Glaucoma is caused by pressure building up from an eye injury, eye infection, dense cataract, inflammation or tumor. 

  • Congenital glaucoma - This is inherited at birth, children are born with narrow angles causing poor drainage in the eye.  Since babies can not tell someone what is wrong, parents should look out for cloudy, white, hazy, enlarged or protruding eye.

Diagnosis, Screenings, and Tests, for Glaucoma.

  • IOP Pressure.  During a routine eye exam the Doctor will measure your Intraocular pressure, or IOP, with a device called a tonometer.  There are two types of tonometers one that touches the surface of your eye and the other sends a puff of air to the eye,  both give an accurate measurement of the IOP.  Normal pressures in the eye should be below 21 mmHg (millimeters of mercury).  Higher pressures over time will lead to damage of the optic nerve and vision loss.

  • OCT (Optical Coherence Tomography). An OCT provides baseline imaging of your optic nerve.  This test is used as a monitoring tool to make sure the that your optic nerve is not becoming too big.  Doctors will measure the cup to disc ratio of your optic nerve and compare it over time.

  • Visual Field Testing.  involves staring straight ahead into a machine and clicking a button when you notice a blinking light in your peripheral vision. The visual field test may be repeated at regular intervals to make sure you are not developing blind spots from damage to the optic nerve or to determine the extent or progression of vision loss from glaucoma. 

Treatments for Glaucoma.

Treatments for Glaucoma range from medication to surgery.  Doctors will always start by prescribing medicated eye drops to lower the pressure in the eye.  Surgeries are a last resort as the may lead to further vision loss.  Patients who are on drops must be compliant with the dose and amount of drops through out the day.  Most patients who go blind while are drops are usually not compliant with their drops.

symptoms of glaucoma

Make an appointment and ask our Doctors about glaucoma screenings.

Call 914-277-5550.


Glaucoma the "silent killer of sight". 

Somers Eye Center has the technology to track your eye health to help prevent Glaucoma from taking your sight.