Glaucoma

What is glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that damage the optic nerve. Most forms of glaucoma are associated with high intraocular pressure (IOP), but the disease can also develop in people with normal or low eye pressure.

Glaucoma diagram

How does glaucoma affect vision?

Vision with Glaucoma

The purpose of the optic nerve is to transmit visual signals to the brain. In glaucoma patients, pressure builds inside the eye and gradually causes damage to the optic nerve. This causes the link between the eye and the brain to break over time. If visual information can’t be sent to the brain via the optic nerve, the result is permanent blindness.

Known as the “silent thief of sight,” glaucoma advances slowly over many years. There are typically no warning signs or symptoms of vision loss in people with early stage glaucoma. If the disease is not detected and treated as soon as possible, glaucoma can cause irreversible vision loss.

What are the types of glaucoma?

Open-Angle Glaucoma is the most common form of glaucoma. The disease develops slowly with age and affects the drainage canals in the eye, which become clogged over time. Most people do not notice early symptoms because glaucoma attacks peripheral vision before it affects central vision.

Angle Closure Glaucoma happens suddenly and rapidly, with no warning. It is caused by a buildup of fluid in the eye — the inability for the fluid to drain causes a rapid increase in eye pressure, which has an immediate effect on the optic nerve. Common symptoms include severe eye pain or headaches, sudden loss of vision, blurry eyesight, and nausea. These symptoms may indicate a medical emergency and must be treated immediately to avoid severe vision loss.

Fortunately, prompt laser treatment and medications can clear the fluid blockage and lower eye pressure in people with angle closure glaucoma.

Low or Normal Tension Glaucoma is typically diagnosed when people with normal eye pressure experience optic nerve damage or peripheral vision loss. Unfortunately, there is not enough research to explain what causes damage to the optic nerve if eye pressure is within the normal range.

Congenital Glaucoma is a form of glaucoma in which children are born with a defect in the angle of the eye that interferes with fluid drainage and eye pressure levels.

Secondary Glaucoma occurs as a result of other diseases or medical treatments, such as:

  • High blood pressure
  • Poorly managed diabetes
  • Cataract complications
  • Uveitis
  • Steroids

Can glaucoma be prevented?

Glaucoma cannot be prevented; however, early detection and treatment can help to control the disease before severe vision loss occurs. For adults over the age of 40, ophthalmologists recommend scheduling an annual comprehensive eye exam that includes pupil dilation. Since glaucoma typically affects peripheral vision first, you may not notice any changes to your prescription, which makes annual exams all the more important. Your doctor will test your vision, check your eye pressure and the condition of your optic nerve during the exam.

Am I at risk for glaucoma?

older african american man

Glaucoma affects nearly three million Americans. Some groups of people are at a higher risk of developing the disease than others.

It is especially important for these groups to schedule annual eye exams to check for early stages of glaucoma:

  • African Americans
  • Hispanics/Latinos
  • Adults over 60 years old
  • Adults with a family history of glaucoma
  • Diabetics

How is glaucoma treated?

There is no cure for glaucoma, but its damaging effects can be reduced. The disease is commonly treated by lowering or regulating eye pressure.

Doctors primarily use three different methods to accomplish this:

Medication

Prescription medication is typically the first treatment that eye doctors recommend when treating glaucoma. There are many drugs that work to lower eye pressure, but most doctors prescribe eye drops or pills. Some drugs lower the amount of fluid the eye produces, while others help fluid drain from the eye.

Some patients may experience side effects from glaucoma medication such as eye redness, stinging, or irritation. Discuss the potential for side effects with your doctor — you may need to try several different prescriptions before you find a treatment that you’re comfortable with.

Unless you have a severe allergic reaction, do not stop taking eye drops for glaucoma without consulting your doctor. Discontinuing the use of medication can increase the potential for optic nerve damage and permanent vision loss.

Laser Treatment

Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT) is often recommended for patients with open-angle glaucoma when eye drops are not effective in lowering eye pressure or if they cause uncomfortable side effects.

SLT is a painless procedure that’s performed in your doctor’s office. A special lens is used to apply an intense beam of light to the drainage system of the eye. This helps stimulate the surrounding eye tissue, so it is more effective at draining fluid and lowering eye pressure levels.

Eye pressure is often significantly reduced as a result of SLT. Many patients are able to eliminate their eye drops or use them less frequently after the procedure. The effects of SLT treatment usually last for 1-5 years and the procedure can be repeated.

Micro-Invasive Glaucoma Surgery (MIGS)

Micro-invasive procedures are proven to be extremely successful at reducing intraocular pressure (IOP) in glaucoma patients, and they involve a much lower degree of risk than traditional surgery.

MIGS procedures utilize one of three approaches:

  • Increase fluid outflow using the eye’s drainage system
  • Shunt fluid outside the eye
  • Decrease the amount of fluid the eye produces

Trabeculectomy Surgery

Trabeculectomy surgery is a traditional approach to reducing eye pressure that has been performed for many years — usually when medical and laser treatments have failed. During surgery, a new channel is created for fluid to drain from the eye and eventually be absorbed by the surrounding tissue.

The procedure is effective in reducing IOP 60-80% of the time. There are, however, risks and complications associated with trabeculotomy surgery such as infection, bleeding inside the eye, vision loss, and low eye pressure.

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👁️✨ Experiencing tiny specks or cobwebs drifting through your vision? Or maybe occasional flashes of light? These are known as eye floaters and flashers, and theyre more common than you might think!
Floaters are usually caused by age-related changes that occur as the jelly-like substance (vitreous) inside your eyes becomes more liquid.
Flashes can look like flashing lights or lightning streaks in your field of vision. They happen when the vitreous gel pulls on or rubs against the retina.
While floaters and flashers are typically harmless, a sudden increase in these could indicate more serious issues like retinal detachment. If you notice a change in the number or type of spots or flashes, its important to call us immediately. 
#EyeHealth #FloatersAndFlashers #VisionCare #LoveLife #EyeCenterofHawaii #Retina

👁️✨ Experiencing tiny specks or "cobwebs" drifting through your vision? Or maybe occasional flashes of light? These are known as eye floaters and flashers, and they're more common than you might think!
Floaters are usually caused by age-related changes that occur as the jelly-like substance (vitreous) inside your eyes becomes more liquid.
Flashes can look like flashing lights or lightning streaks in your field of vision. They happen when the vitreous gel pulls on or rubs against the retina.
While floaters and flashers are typically harmless, a sudden increase in these could indicate more serious issues like retinal detachment. If you notice a change in the number or type of spots or flashes, it's important to call us immediately.
#EyeHealth #FloatersAndFlashers #VisionCare #LoveLife #EyeCenterofHawaii #Retina
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Mahalo Lucille! Kind words warm our hearts. We truly care about our patients and ensuring they feel supported during their eye care experience. 
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Mahalo Lucille! Kind words warm our hearts. We truly care about our patients and ensuring they feel supported during their eye care experience.
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Most cataract surgeries are performed in individuals aged 60 and older and by the age of 80, a significant population of people will have cataracts or will have undergone cataract surgery. 
But the right time for YOU to have cataract surgery should be based on factors such as the severity of your symptoms and the impact on your daily activities and quality of life. 
If youre experiencing cataract symptoms call us to schedule your cataract exam. Our caring team will walk you through the process!
#Cataracts #CataractSurgery #LoveLife #Waa #EyeCenterofHawaii

Most cataract surgeries are performed in individuals aged 60 and older and by the age of 80, a significant population of people will have cataracts or will have undergone cataract surgery.
But the right time for YOU to have cataract surgery should be based on factors such as the severity of your symptoms and the impact on your daily activities and quality of life.
If you're experiencing cataract symptoms call us to schedule your cataract exam. Our caring team will walk you through the process!
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Our patients are our world. Mahalo Aunty Lani, your words mean everything to our staff.
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As our practice has transformed from Bennett Eye Institute to Eye Center of Hawaii, you can trust that you will experience the same level of care from our doctors and staff now across every island. Call us at 808-955-0255 to schedule your eye care today.
#Waa #EyeCenterofHawaii #GuidingPatientCareForward #LoveLife

As our practice has transformed from Bennett Eye Institute to Eye Center of Hawai'i, you can trust that you will experience the same level of care from our doctors and staff now across every island. Call us at 808-955-0255 to schedule your eye care today.
#WA'a #eyecenterofhawaii #guidingpatientcareforward #lovelife
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Locations

OAHU LOCATIONS

Main Office Yacht Harbor Professional Center
1620 Ala Moana Boulevard
Suite 500
Honolulu, HI 96815
Tel: (808) 955-0255

Mary Savio Medical Plaza
98-1247 Kaahumanu Street Suite 310
Aiea, HI 96701
Tel: (808) 955-0255 

Pro Com Plaza
94-216 Farrington Highway
Suite B2-203
Waipahu, HI 96797
Tel: (808) 671-4778

HAWAII LOCATIONS

77-6399 Nalani Street 2nd Floor
Kailua-Kona, HI 96740
Tel: (808) 329-2010 

346 Waianuenue Ave
Hilo, HI 96720
Tel: (808) 935-4456

MAUI LOCATION

Kahului Building
23 Paa Street
Kahului, HI 96732
Tel: (808) 877-8955

KAUAI LOCATION

‍4418 Kukui Grove Street
Lihue, HI 96766
Tel: (808) 245-5377

Bennett Eye Institute has been transformed into Eye Center of Hawai’i.

In 1998, Dr. Michael Bennett laid the foundation for our journey, leading us to become the largest retinal practice in Hawai’i and one of the nation’s leaders in research. However, as the landscape evolved, we recognized the need to differentiate ourselves, leading to our transition to Bennett Eye Institute. Now, as Eye Center of Hawai’i, we come full circle, reflecting our dedication to delivering exceptional care with expanded services.