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Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that can lead to permanent vision loss. Inside your eye, there's a clear fluid called aqueous humor. It nourishes the tissues and keeps the eye's shape by providing pressure, similar to the air in a balloon.

In most types of glaucoma, the eye's natural drainage system doesn't work properly. This causes the fluid inside the eye not to drain. This leads to increased pressure inside the eye, which can harm the optic nerve and cause vision loss.

Most forms of glaucoma don't show any symptoms until the vision loss becomes severe enough to impact a person's quality of life. An estimated 2.5 million Americans have glaucoma, and half of them don't know they have it. About 130,000 Americans are currently blind because of glaucoma, making it the second most common cause of blindness worldwide. There are several important risk factors for glaucoma, including high eye pressure, family history, race and age.

  • Primary open-angle glaucoma accounts for approximately 90% of all cases. It exhibits few symptoms, if any, until it reaches an advanced stage.
  • Angle-closure glaucoma is less common but more severe and is marked with a rapid rise in eye pressure and severe vision loss.

  • Adults over 60 are six times more likely to have glaucoma than the general population.
  • Black people are six to eight times more likely than white people to have glaucoma.
  • People with a family history of glaucoma or diabetes are at greater risk for glaucoma.
  • About 800,000 Americans 40 to 50 years of age have elevated eye pressure from glaucoma.
  • Approximately 2,000,000 Americans over 70 have elevated eye pressure from glaucoma.

Since glaucoma often doesn't show many signs, it's important to have regular eye exams to catch glaucoma early and treat it successfully.

During a routine glaucoma exam, the doctor will likely measure the pressure in your eye and look inside to check the optic nerve. They might also use a visual field test to keep track of your side vision and see how well the treatment is working.

The most common way to treat glaucoma is through medications. About half of glaucoma patients use two or more medications to lower the pressure inside their eyes.

At Ochsner, we offer the latest treatments and take part in research programs. Because glaucoma is a long-lasting and progressive condition, people with glaucoma need lifelong and regular check-ups to monitor their eye pressure and the health of their optic nerve and vision. Our doctors specialize in caring for people with this vision-threatening disease and use the newest methods for diagnosis and treatment. We're also involved in teaching and offer opportunities for patients to join important glaucoma research programs.

There are different surgical or laser treatments that can also help lower eye pressure, but they can permanently change the eye's anatomy and have varying levels of success. These treatments include trabeculectomy, iridectomy, iridotomy, laser trabeculoplasty and glaucoma implant procedures.

Canaloplasty is a newer procedure that doesn't permanently change the eye's anatomy and allows for other treatment options if needed.

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Map of Ochsner-affiliated facilities that provide services related to Glaucoma

Glaucoma Locations

Ochsner Medical Complex - Clearview
4430 Veterans Memorial Blvd.
Metairie, LA 70006
  • Monday – Friday: 7 a.m.-5 p.m.
Ochsner Lafayette General Medical Center
1214 Coolidge St.
Lafayette, LA 70503
  • Open 24/7