What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a disease that damages your eye’s optic nerve. It usually happens when fluid builds up in the front part of your eye. That extra fluid increases the pressure in your eye, damaging the optic nerve.

It is estimated that three million Americans have glaucoma, but only about half of them know that they have glaucoma. Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness for people over 60 years old. But blindness from glaucoma can often be prevented with early treatment. When glaucoma develops, usually you don’t have any early glaucoma symptoms and the disease progresses slowly. In this way, glaucoma can steal your sight very gradually.

The optic nerve is connected to the retina — a layer of light-sensitive tissue lining the inside of the eye — and is made up of many nerve fibers, like an electric cable is made up of many wires. The optic nerve sends signals from your retina to your brain, where these signals are interpreted as the images you see.

In the healthy eye, a clear fluid called aqueous (pronounced AY-kwee-us) humor circulates inside the front portion of your eye. To maintain a constant healthy eye pressure, your eye continually produces a small amount of aqueous humor while an equal amount of this fluid flows out of your eye. If you have glaucoma, the aqueous humor does not flow out of the eye properly. Fluid pressure in the eye builds up and, over time, causes damage to the optic nerve fibers.

There are many forms of treatment available for glaucoma, including glaucoma lasers, glaucoma medications, and surgical treatment.

In a healthy eye, excess fluid leaves the eye through the drainage angle, keeping pressure stable.

Our specialty trained glaucoma surgeon and specialist, Dr. Briana Gapsis, brings her expertise and compassion to serve Maui. We are very fortunate for her, as she is the only ophthalmologist in Maui specializing in glaucoma.

At EyeSight Hawaii, we are proud to be able to offer the best traditional treatments as well as the newest innovations in glaucoma treatments, laser, medical, and surgical care, including selective laser trabeculoplasty (SLT) and microinvasive glaucoma surgeries (MIGS). We carefully tailor your treatment regimen to create the best treatment plan for you and your specific type of glaucoma.