Glaucoma Portland, Maine

By Samuel Solish, M.D.

Patients concerned about Glaucoma or Glaucoma related eye problems who come to Eyecare Medical Group in Portland will be pleased have access to the experience and expertise of our two glaucoma specialists, Samuel P. Solish, M.D. and Robert W. Daly, M.D., both of whom have completed fellowship programs in glaucoma as part of their extensive training. Their experience coupled with the advanced technology imaging, diagnostic testing services, lasers and operating room facilities in our outpatient eye surgery center give them the capability of caring for simple types of Glaucoma as well as the most advanced and complex types of Glaucoma right in Portland. Learning about Glaucoma is important for everyone-but especially if anyone in your family has glaucoma or you have known risk factors for Glaucoma.

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Glaucoma is actually not a single disease, but is group of diseases that can steal your sight without any warning or symptoms. Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness for patients between the ages of 18-65 years of age. It is estimated that approximately 3 million people have Glaucoma, yet only half of those actually know that they have it. While most people are familiar with the eye disease Glaucoma, few are aware of why Glaucoma is such a significant threat to sight. In general, most serious eye diseases or eye conditions produce some symptoms that make patients uncomfortable or disturb their vision. Glaucoma begins without any symptoms or obvious loss of vision.  People can actually have rather extensive loss of peripheral vision (i.e. side vision) and not know it. In this way glaucoma is quite insidious and, if not detected, diagnosed and treated early in its course, will lead to progressive and permanent vision loss. This is what makes Glaucoma such a dangerous disease.

The fact that most cases of Glaucoma are initially asymptomatic makes regular screening exams very important.  High Intraocular Pressure or IOP is one of the diagnostic signs that may indicate the presence of Glaucoma.  National studies estimate that between 3-6 million people in the United States have higher than normal Intraocular Pressure (IOP), without obvious clinical signs of damage to the optic nerve. Thus it is likely that there are another million people who may have Glaucoma, but have not yet been diagnosed because they do not have access to eye care or even Glaucoma screenings. Just in the United States, there are approximately 100,000 patients who are believed to be legally blind from Glaucoma.

As we described earlier, the most disturbing attributes of Glaucoma are that in most cases it begins slowly and without visual symptoms.  This makes it likely to go unnoticed by patients unless they are consistent about having routine eye examinations with Glaucoma testing. It is entirely possible to have a higher than normal Intraocular Pressure (IOP) and vision loss and simply not know it.  Fortunately, Glaucoma is treatable, and in many cases patients retain excellent vision throughout their lives.

How Often Should I Be Checked for Glaucoma?
At Eyecare Medical Group, we recommend that all patients over 50 years of age who have no previous family history of Glaucoma or other general health conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure, be evaluated for Glaucoma every two years. If there is any family history of Glaucoma at all, or there any other general health problems, we recommend patients be evaluated for Glaucoma every year beginning at age 40. In addition, we now also know that there is considerable risk for siblings of those who have Glaucoma. In the Nottingham Glaucoma Study, it was found that the siblings of Glaucoma patients are 5 times the risk for developing Glaucoma by the age of 70 and therefore should be examined every year.

Glaucoma is a very complex eye disease and not simply an elevated Intraocular Pressure (IOP). Nonetheless, when detected early it can be successfully treated. Eyecare Medical Group eye doctors and our Glaucoma specialists provide the full scope of advanced technology diagnostic testing and treatment, as well as taking the time necessary to give each patient the personal education needed to fully understand their condition and get the best possible outcomes for their patients.

If you or a family member or friend have not had a recent Glaucoma screening or eye exam for Glaucoma, please take a moment to request an appointment by calling Eyecare Medical Group in Portland, Maine at 888-374-2020.

Eyecare Medical Group provides diagnosis and treatment of Glaucoma in Maine and is conveniently located for patients from Auburn, Augusta, Bangor, Bath, Berwick, Biddeford, Bridgton, Brunswick, Cape Neddick, Casco Bay, Cumberland Center, Eliot, Freeport, Gardiner, Kennebunk, Kennebunkport, Kittery, Lewiston, Old Orchard Beach, Portland, Sanford, Scarborough, South Portland, Springvale, Topsham, Waterville, Westbrook, Winslow, Wiscasset, Yarmouth, Portland, Skowhegan and York Maine.

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