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7 Facts You Should Know About Glaucoma

glaucoma diagram

7 Facts You Should Know About Glaucoma

Glaucoma, which refers to a group of eye diseases that damage the optic nerve, is often called 'the silent thief of sight'. This nickname evolved because the disease creeps up unnoticed in its early stages, causing no pain and few, if any symptoms. However, if left untreated it is progressive and irreversible and ultimately leads to blindness, usually affecting peripheral vision first.

Here are 7 important facts you should know about glaucoma:

  1. According to the National Eye Institute of the National Institute of Health, more than 4 million people in the United States have glaucoma. (http://www.nei.nih.gov/news/briefs/glaucoma_awareness.asp)
  2. Glaucoma causes damage to the optic nerve (the nerve that connects the eyes and the brain) usually as a result of increased pressure in the eye.
  3. Early stages of the disease diminish peripheral vision. If the disease is not controlled, glaucoma often eventually causes total blindness.
  4. The best way to detect glaucoma is through a dilated eye exam. The eye doctor views the optic nerve for signs of glaucoma. Intraocular pressure (IOP) is also measured, although this measurement is not enough to determine glaucoma, as it can fluctuate even throughout the day, and it is possible to have glaucoma even if IOP falls within the normal range, or to have high pressure without glaucoma. If the disease is suspected, further testing will be done, which may include visual field tests and digital retinal scanning.
  5. Anyone can get glaucoma but you are at increased risk for developing glaucoma if you have the following risk factors:
    • over 40
    • diabetes
    • high blood pressure
    • African American or Hispanic descent
    • family history of the disease
  6. Glaucoma can be controlled through a variety of approaches designed to lower and control pressure build up in your eye.
    • Treatment can involve the use of medicated eye drops.
    • Laser procedures and minor surgical procedures can be used depending on the type and stage of glaucoma.
  7. The best way to prevent vision loss from glaucoma is through early diagnosis so make sure to schedule a complete eye exam with your eye care professional at least once a year.

Don’t be the next victim of the silent thief of sight.  Speak to your eye doctor about your risk of glaucoma today. 

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Dear Patients,

As of Tuesday evening, March 17th, the CDC has recommended that all routine eye care be deferred until further notice, in order to slow the transmission of COVID-19 through our community.

Please be assured that we are still available to triage all urgent and emergent calls during this challenging time.

We are officially closing our offices effective at 3:00pm today, March 20 th and tentatively plan to reopen on April 1 st . We are rescheduling all routine visits and are available by phone to triage ocular emergencies.

Our phone lines will be open:

Monday the 23 rd and 30 th : 10:00am to 5:00pm

Tuesday-Friday (24 th -27 th and the 31 st ): 9:00am to 3:00pm

What does this mean?

1) If you are scheduled for an annual eye examination we will tentatively reschedule you starting April 1 st

2) If you are running out of a medication please contact us and we can transmit a refill electronically to your pharmacy.

3) If you have an issue which cannot wait for an office visit, contact us and we will schedule a Telephone appointment with one of our doctors. Medicare has temporarily relaxed its telehealth rules to allow this type of communication during the pandemic crisis. Other insurers may follow suit and allow for reimbursement of virtual care costs. The consultation must be initiated at your request.

4) If you have an ocular emergency we are, as always, available to help you at any time. Call 1-850-455-0120 andwait for instructions at the end of the message.

Dr. Leonard or Dr. Charbonneau will discuss your condition by phone and make the best treatment decision for you on a one on one basis.

5) Please remember that 80% of COVID-19 cases are mild and resolve within a week. However, if you feel your symptoms are worsening, call ahead before visiting your doctor’s office or emergency department and tell them you have or may have COVID-19. This will help the office protect themselves and other patients.

The CDC has many wonderful resources. Arming yourself and your family with clear information will help you avoid undue stress.

https://bit.ly/2WxWYIe and https://bit.ly/33FBlXZ

Together we will weather this storm.

With sincerest wishes for your continued good health we remain at your service,

Dr. Clare L Leonard

Dr. Mary Charbonneau