Glaucoma: The importance of regular eye exams

Published on
January 18, 2023

Glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness in the United States. In the United States, 3 million people suffer from glaucoma, but less than half are aware that they have it.

The prevalence of glaucoma increases with age, with people over the age of 60 being at the highest risk. African Americans are also at a higher risk of developing glaucoma, and are 15 times more likely to be blind from the disease than white Americans.

What is glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a common eye condition that affects a significant portion of the older population. It is often caused by increased pressure within the eye, but can also be due to other factors such as optic nerve damage or blood flow problems. In severe cases, it can lead to vision loss and even blindness. 

There are several types of glaucoma and it can be caused by various factors, but the most common is increased pressure in the eye. This is why it is important to have your eye pressure checked during regular eye exams.

Symptoms of glaucoma

One of the main challenges with glaucoma is that it often has no symptoms in the early stages. This is why it is so important to schedule comprehensive eye exams regularly, especially if you have a family history of glaucoma or are over the age of 50. As the condition progresses, symptoms may include:

  • Loss of peripheral vision
  • Tunnel vision (where only the central vision remains)
  • Blurred vision
  • Eye pain
  • Seeing halos around lights

It is important to note that these symptoms may not appear until the disease is in its advanced stages, which is why it is important to get regularly checked for glaucoma. Early detection and treatment can help preserve vision. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, please schedule an eye exam by calling (360) 491-2121.

Who is at higher risk for Glaucoma? 

  • Glaucoma can impact people at any age, however the risk increases for those aged 50 and over. 
  • African Americans over the age of 40 are at a higher risk for glaucoma
  • Diabetics are at a higher risk for glaucoma
  • Having a family history of glaucoma puts you in a higher risk category for glaucoma

What does an eye exam for glaucoma involve?

An eye exam for glaucoma typically involves several tests to assess the health of your eyes and check for signs of the disease. Some of the tests that may be performed during an eye exam for glaucoma include:

  • Visual acuity test: This measures your ability to see clearly at different distances.
  • Eye pressure test: This measures the pressure inside your eye, which is one of the main risk factors for glaucoma.
  • Dilated eye exam: Drops are used to widen your pupils, allowing the doctor to examine the inside of your eye and look for signs of glaucoma.
  • Visual field test: This measures your peripheral vision to check for signs of glaucoma.
  • Optic nerve exam: The doctor will examine the optic nerve, looking for signs of damage that may be caused by glaucoma.
  • OCT imaging: An OCT test may be recommended during a glaucoma exam, an OCT uses light waves to create a detailed image of the layers of the retina and optic nerve. This test can help detect early signs of glaucoma, as well as monitor the progression of the condition.

It is important to get regularly checked for glaucoma, especially if you have risk factors such as high eye pressure or a family history of the disease. To schedule a comprehensive eye exam, please call (360) 491-2121.

What are the different treatment options for glaucoma?

The main goal of treatment for glaucoma is to lower the pressure within the eye and preserve the remaining vision. This is typically done with the use of eye drops, which are used daily to lower the pressure. In cases where the drops are not effective, more invasive procedures such as laser surgery may be used. It is important to note that once the optic nerve has been damaged, it cannot be repaired. Therefore, the goal of treatment is to slow the progression of the disease and preserve the remaining vision.

Schedule a medical eye exam for glaucoma in Olympia

If you are at risk for glaucoma, it is important to take proactive steps to preserve your vision. One of the best ways to do this is by getting regularly checked by our optometrist. Early detection and treatment of glaucoma can help preserve your vision. Don't wait – schedule an eye exam today and take control of your eye health. To schedule an eye exam, please call (360) 491-2121. Patients searching for advanced treatment for glaucoma visit our clinic from all over Washington, and we are proud to be a leading provider of medical eye care services for patients from Olympia, Lakewood, Tacoma, and Lacey.


Such a nice optician. My grandson is only 4 and needs glasses. We were so sad, but he explained the issues, and we will follow up as he suggested.

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June S.

Dr. Zurcher has gone above and beyond what any other eye doctor has ever done to figure out what is going on with my eyes. Very happy with American Family Vision.

Christine R.

Family Vision Clinic changed our lives! My daughter was frequently car sick, and she was getting headaches every day, often painful enough that they brought her to tears. We saw a string of doctors and therapists, but we made no progress. Finally, we found Dr. Levi Zurcher and his eye therapist Rain. After ten weeks of eye therapy my daughter no longer gets headaches, and she no longer gets car sick. Daily tears are a thing of the past. I really can’t say enough about this clinic. It was fascinating to watch Dr. Zurcher work. For the first time, someone who knew what they were doing was intently studying my daughter, really trying to figure out all of her eye issues, and his therapist Rain is one of the most patient and lovely people that I’ve ever had the good fortune to meet. We’re finished with eye therapy—yay!—and I have switched to American Family Vision Clinic for all of my family’s other eye health needs.

Lars Wulff

Very professional, yet kind and helpful. They do what they can to make the appointment comfortable. I was running a bit late, I made sure ti call. They were able to switch me with a patient who was already there, they treated me with respect, and helped my son have confidence by getting him the eye care he needed that day. Thank you so much! Would recommend to anyone. It's a blessing that they care enough to work with people who have all different types of insurance from work to state coverage.

Justin E.

The staff is friendly. The Doc is very knowledgeable. The office is family friendly and everyone is so patient with the little ones.

Amy Fagerness
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