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Glaucoma: Focused on Early Detection

Category: Patient Stories
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Woman Getting Check for Glaucoma in a Doctor's Office If hypertension (high blood pressure) is the "silent killer," then glaucoma is the "sneak thief of sight," a disease that seems to strike with little or no warning. In reality, the damage occurs over time, quietly destroying as much as 40 percent of a person's vision before the loss becomes noticeable. "Glaucoma is the leading cause of preventable blindness in this country," says Dr. Timothy Quinn, ophthalmologist with St. Luke's Miller Creek Medical Clinic and Hibbing Family Medical Clinic. "Without any obvious symptoms, early detection is the key to preventing glaucoma-related vision loss."

Common types of glaucoma

The two main types of glaucoma are primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG) and angle-closure glaucoma. Often associated with aging, POAG occurs gradually as the eye's drainage system becomes less efficient and pressure inside the eye slowly increases. Unlike POAG, closed-angle glaucoma usually occurs suddenly when the iris (the colored part of the eye) blocks the drain. Symptoms can include severe eye pain, headache, blurriness, halos around lights, nausea and vomiting.

By the numbers

According to the Glaucoma Research Foundation, more than four million Americans and nearly 70 million people worldwide have glaucoma, and roughly half don't know they have it. In the United States alone, approximately 120,000 people are blind as a result of glaucoma. "Regular eye exams are especially important for people in high-risk groups, including persons with diabetes, eye trauma, extreme nearsightedness, a family history of glaucoma, smoking, African, Asian and Hispanic descent, and aging," Dr. Quinn says.

While there is currently no cure for glaucoma, treatment with medication or surgery can help prevent or slow vision loss. To learn more, talk with your doctor or contact Dr. Charlie Ahrens at Miller Creek Medical Clinic or Hibbing Family Medical Clinic, or Dr. John Yoon at Mariner Medical Clinic.

Miller Creek Medical Clinic
4190 Loberg Avenue
Hermantown, MN 55811

Hibbing Family Medical Clinic
1120 East 34th Street
Hibbing, MN 55746

Mariner Medical Clinic
109 North 28th Street East
Superior, WI 54880