Glaucoma is a serious chronic eye disorder that can cause damage to the optic nerve and lead to blindness.
If you have symptoms like eye pain, reduced peripheral vision, or halos around lights, you should be checked for glaucoma.
Dr. Bruce Cohen and Dr. Nancy M. Buchser in St. Louis, MO, provide accurate diagnoses and effective treatment of glaucoma.
Who Is at Risk for Glaucoma?
Anyone who is over 60, has a family history of the disease, or is nearsighted may face a higher risk of developing symptoms. Other risk factors include eye trauma, heart disease, high blood pressure, and having thin corneas.
Source: American Optometric Organization
Schedule an Exam at Cohen Eye Associates
Bruce Cohen, MD, and glaucoma specialist Nancy M. Buchser, MD, are highly experienced in the diagnosis and treatment of ocular diseases, including glaucoma.
Don't risk permanent vision loss; if you experience a sudden change in vision or any other symptoms indicative of glaucoma, reach out to us immediately to book an exam. Or, if you are not currently undergoing regular eye exams, let our ophthalmology practice start providing the ongoing checkups you need. Schedule an appointment today either by using our online form or giving our St. Louis practice a call:
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Dr. Bruce Cohen and his staff are always professional, friendly and helpful. Even when it's crazy busy in the office, you are made to feel like you are the only one there.
I fully trust Dr. Cohen and his diagnostic and treatment abilities, along with knowing when something is out of his scope of ability to treat.
You Can Afford Care by Cohen Eye Associates
If you are experiencing glaucoma symptoms, vision loss, or other changes in your vision, book an eye exam as soon as possible. However, even if you are not experiencing symptoms, it is extremely important to undergo regular eye exams. That's because many symptoms won't present until some irreversible vision loss has occurred.
Unless otherwise directed by an ophthalmologist, you should undergo a general eye exam:
- Every five to 10 years between the ages of 20 and 40
- Every two to four years between the ages of 40 to 54
- Every one to three years between the ages of 55 and 64
During your exam, your ophthalmologist will review your medical history and perform a number of tests:
- Tonometry: Measurement of eye pressure using a special device
- Dilated Eye Exam and Imaging Tests: Assessment of the optic nerve using tools such as a slit lamp
- Visual Field Test: Detection of any changes in your visual field using a simple eye chart and other tests
- Pachymetry: Measurement of corneal thickness using ultrasound and other tools
- Gonioscopy: Assessment of drainage using a slit lamp and a special lens
- Nerve Fiber Test: Assessment of the thickness of the optic nerve fibers
How Often Should I Have an Eye Exam?
How Is Glaucoma Treated?
These prescribed drops are designed to either decrease fluid production or increase drainage in order to maintain a healthy eye pressure. Eye drops are usually the first treatment that your doctor will recommend.
Less commonly, patients may be prescribed oral medications to help maintain a healthy eye pressure.
What about Medical Cannabis?
The American Academy of Ophthalmology doesn't recommend using cannabis as a treatment for glaucoma. However, glaucoma is a condition that qualifies for medical cannabis in Missouri. That means that if you have been diagnosed with glaucoma, you can register for a medical marijuana card and purchase cannabis. However, it is important to understand that cannabis doesn't come with recommended doses. As with any drug, it is best to consult a physician before you begin taking it. If you have questions about using medical cannabis as an open-angle glaucoma treatment, our doctors are open to having an honest discussion concerning the benefits, risks, and other aspects of this option.
Glaucoma is chronic, meaning it cannot be completely resolved. However, it can be controlled in a way that will minimize vision loss.
When Was Your Last Eye Exam?
Get in touch with Cohen Eye Associates today to schedule a comprehensive evaluation. Glaucoma is known as the "silent thief of sight" because in many cases, sufferers have no indication of the condition until they have experienced a permanent compromise in their vision. Your absolute best defense against glaucoma is early detection. You can request a consultation online or give us a call.
Reducing the Risk
Following these guidelines may lower your risk of developing glaucoma or experiencing any resulting vision loss:
Undergo Regular Eye Exams
Simply put, this is the single best way to prevent glaucoma from compromising your vision. Book an appointment with our St. Louis practice today if you aren't undergoing regular exams.
Smoking can lead to high blood pressure, diabetes, and cataracts. All of these conditions can increase the risk of glaucoma.
An active lifestyle is an excellent way to maintain good cardiovascular health, which can help prevent glaucoma.
Taking time to relax is good for your heart, which is in turn good for your ocular health.
Eat a Healthy Diet
Keeping your weight and blood pressure in check through a healthy diet is an excellent means of prevention.
Take Your Meds
If you are taking prescription medication for glaucoma, make certain you are using it as directed.
Glaucoma treatments are usually covered by medical insurance. Cohen Eye Associates accepts many HMO and PPO plans, and is a participating Medicare provider. We also offer affordable financing through CareCredit® for qualifying patients. If you're unsure of your coverage, our friendly staff can answer your questions and file the appropriate forms on your behalf.
Meet Glaucoma Specialist Nancy Buchser
Dr. Buchser has completed extensive and prestigious training in her field in order to provide patients throughout Greater St. Louis with outstanding care. She earned her medical doctorate with research distinction and completed her subsequent internship at the University of Miami. Next, Dr. Buchser completed an ocular pathology fellowship and a glaucoma research fellowship at the University of Miami's Bascom Palmer Eye Institute. She went on to complete a residency in ophthalmology at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. She later took part in glaucoma fellowship training at Washington University, here in St. Louis.
Dr. Nancy M. Buchser is a member of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, American Glaucoma Society, and St. Louis Ophthalmological Society.
"Dr. Nancy Buchser Is the Best!"
"Dr Nancy Buscher is the best!! I have taken my daughter to three Ophthalmologists since she was very young and we had to recently make a switch. Dr Nancy was awesome. Not only is she smart and observant and was able to solve some long term unresolved issues that my daughter had, but she is very nice and professional, as well." K, 5-Star Google Review
Book Your Exam Now
Whether you are experiencing changes in your vision or simply haven't undergone an exam in awhile, we want to help you maintain your ocular health. You can request a consultation online or call our offices directly to book an appointment.
Answers to Frequently Asked Questions about Glaucoma
What are the symptoms of glaucoma?
In cases of open-angle glaucoma, it often presents no symptoms until irreversible vision loss has occurred. Closed-angle glaucoma (also called angle-closure glaucoma) can cause a sudden onset of eye pain, nausea, and headaches. You should reach out to a doctor as soon as possible if you experience any changes in your vision or other symptoms.
I'm not experiencing symptoms, but should I have a glaucoma exam?If you are under age 40 and haven't been told you're at risk of glaucoma, it's a good idea to undergo a comprehensive eye exam every 5 to 10 years. Your doctor will test for glaucoma during this exam. Regardless of your ocular health, you should undergo a comprehensive exam at age 40. Based on the results of the exam, your doctor can recommend how often to undergo regular exams.
Can glaucoma be cured?
Glaucoma is chronic, meaning it cannot be completely resolved. However, it can be controlled in a way that will minimize vision loss. This typically involves taking either oral meds or eye drops that can optimize intraocular pressure by improving the outflow of fluids from the eye. Healthy lifestyle practices such as a nutritious diet, regular exercise, and abstinence from tobacco can also help to delay the development of glaucoma or prevent it from compromising your vision.
Can I use cannabis to control my glaucoma?Although cannabis has been found to lower intraocular pressure, the American Academy of Ophthalmology does not recommend it. In short, the AAO reports that you would need to consume a significant amount of cannabis in order to effectively control glaucoma, and that amount would likely severely impair your other daily functions. Regardless, glaucoma is a condition that qualifies for medical cannabis use in Missouri. We are open to discussing this option with you during a consultation.
Will I need surgery?
If you are diagnosed with closed-angle glaucoma and conservative treatments like topical and oral meds are not effective in maintaining healthy eye pressure, we can explore the possibility of surgery. This involves making alterations to the tissues of the eye or inserting a drainage device to improve the outflow of fluid and avoid high intraocular pressure. The results ultimately lower your risk of partial vision loss or blindness.
Is it always a matter of high intraocular pressure?No. There is a condition called normal-pressure glaucoma in which IOP that would be considered normal causes damage to the optic nerve. To date, it is unknown what causes this condition or why a normal IOP would damage the optic nerve. Those who are most likely to develop normal-pressure glaucoma are those with a family history of the condition, people of Japanese descent, people with low blood pressure, and people with systemic heart disease.
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"Dr. Cohen is an excellent clinician with decades of experience who truly cares about his patients. My husband and I are blessed to have Dr. Cohen taking great care of us and our eyes. Thank you." Kimberly Seiber, 5-Star Google Review