At Hill Vision Services, we offer sight-saving glaucoma care for the St. Louis area. By using the most advanced technological methods, our ophthalmologists are able to detect, prevent, monitor, and effectively treat glaucoma.
The best form of protection is prevention, so schedule your eye exam today to see if you are one of the millions of patients with glaucoma.
What Is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is an eye disease that slowly and often unknowingly steals an individual’s ability to see over time. It is a disease of the optic nerve, the pathway connecting the eyeball and retina to the brain. Although the relationship is complex, patients with glaucoma generally have elevated intraocular pressure. This dangerous buildup of internal eye pressure causes slow, but progressive damage to the optic nerve either by “pressing” on its microscopic fibers or by reducing the blood flow to them. The exact mechanism is complex, and there are even some patients who develop the disease despite relatively normal eye pressures.
Most patients diagnosed with this eye disease, approximately 90%, have what is known as open-angle glaucoma. Here, the fluid in the front of the eye, known as the aqueous humor, is able to easily pass through the eye’s drainage channel, but the “drain” (also known as the trabecular meshwork) is not as effective as it once was.
The other 10% have what is known as narrow-angle glaucoma. In this case, the path to the drain is narrowed and the normal flow of aqueous humor is compromised. In rare cases, the narrow type may be an acute event accompanied by severe pain and rapid loss of vision.
Whether open or narrow, both types typically result in elevated eye pressure and gradual loss of vision. Often called the “silent thief of sight,” glaucoma may produce no symptoms until the disease progresses and causes irreparable harm. This is why it is so important for patients to have their eye pressure checked and to be screened.
Don’t let glaucoma steal your sight—contact us today to schedule your eye exam!
When you schedule a routine eye exam with Hill Vision Services, a complete and thorough examination will be done. In addition to checking your intraocular pressure (IOP) to determine if fluid is not draining properly, our ophthalmologists and optometrists perform tests such as visual field testing, optic nerve fiber analysis, and direct visualization of the nerve. These tests, all important pieces of the puzzle, give us a sense of how the nerve appears (versus what is considered normal) as well as how the nerve is functioning. Our eye doctors can then confirm the diagnosis of glaucoma or rule out any other problems.
Once diagnosed, subsequent treatment of glaucoma is aimed at trying to lower the eye pressure and could include medicated drops, laser procedures, glaucoma surgery, or a combination of these treatments.
Glaucoma Eye Drops
Medicated eye drops aimed at lowering IOP are usually the first line of defense for controlling glaucoma. If you have open-angle glaucoma, we may prescribe one or more of the following eye drops:
Medicated eye drops aimed at lowering IOP are usually the first line of defense for controlling glaucoma. However, if medication does not alleviate the internal pressure, then other surgical options may be explored.
- Prostaglandins – These drops increase the outflow of aqueous fluid from the eye and typically are used once daily.
- Rho-kinase inhibitor – These drops are prescribed for once-a-day use and reduce IOP by increasing aqueous fluid drainage from the eye.
- Beta-blockers – These drops slow the production of aqueous in your eye to reduce eye pressure and may be prescribed for use once or twice daily, depending on your specific needs.
- Carbonic anhydrase inhibitors – These drops reduce the production of fluid in the eye and are usually prescribed for use twice a day.
- Alpha-adrenergic agonists – These drops can both reduce aqueous production and increase aqueous drainage, they may be prescribed for use twice or three times a day.
- Combination eye drops – There also are glaucoma eye drops that are a combination of medicines. If you need more than one medicine to control your eye pressure, this may be a convenient and effective option.
Laser trabeculoplasty is a procedure done to treat open-angle glaucoma. It uses a laser to help the fluid in your eye drain away. Before the treatment, drops will be put in your eye to make it numb. During the treatment, you will sit in front of a laser machine where the doctor will aim a strong beam of light into your eye using a special lens. You may see flashes of bright green or red light during the treatment. Most people feel little or no pain or discomfort during the treatment.
Surgery can be an effective way of treating glaucoma and preventing further vision loss. In addition to glaucoma surgery, the doctors at Hill Vision Services can combine this surgical procedure with one to treat cataracts as well. This can be beneficial and convenient for a variety of older adults suffering from both conditions. You can learn more about the iStent® by clicking on this link:
Learn about iStent®
This surgery will help lower the eye pressure while simultaneously reducing the number of prescription drops that patients must use to control glaucoma. In some cases, surgery can even eliminate the need for drops altogether.
Contact Our Glaucoma Doctors
Dr. Gregory Hill and the team at Hill Vision Services are highly skilled in the management of glaucoma and have successfully provided care for this condition for many years.
Our goal is to help you achieve the best vision and comfort possible no matter your age. With 3 convenient locations in Creve Coeur, Lake St Louis, and Glen Carbon, we are able to provide professional eye care in a comfortable and friendly environment.
Schedule an eye exam today to stop glaucoma in its tracks! Contact us now!