Glaucoma Services

At MUSC Storm Eye Institute, we help you keep your vision. Glaucoma is a major cause of blindness, but with proper treatment, you can protect your eyesight. Our advanced diagnostic tools and expertise can detect glaucoma early so you get the help you need.

Glaucoma Treatment Why Choose Storm Eye Institute?

We offer the most advanced glaucoma diagnostic tests and treatments, including lasers not commonly found at other programs in the region. We treat all types of the disease, including childhood glaucoma.

When you come to MUSC Storm Eye Institute for glaucoma services, you benefit from:

  • Expert Glaucoma Specialists: Our ophthalmologists (eye doctors) have extensive experience and training with all types of glaucoma treatment, including medications, lasers and surgery. They passed rigorous, optional exams (board certification) and completed additional, specialized training (fellowships) in glaucoma care.
  • Advanced Treatment for Multiple Eye Conditions: The eye is a complicated organ and people often experience more than one eye condition at a time. Our glaucoma specialists have extensive experience with both glaucoma and cataracts. We have the expertise and technology to treat both conditions at the same time.
  • Innovative Research Program: When you come to us for care, you benefit from our research, which focuses on less-invasive ways to treat glaucoma-related vision problems. Our research allows us to offer the latest and most advanced treatment options, including specialized devices.
  • Full Range of Pediatric Care: We are one of the few programs in South Carolina offering the full range of surgeries for children and teens with glaucoma. Doctors from around the state send us their patients, trusting that we’ll provide the right care. Learn more about our pediatric ophthalmology.

What Is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a disease that damages the optic nerve at the back of your eye. The optic nerve sends visual information to your brain so you can see. But drainage problems in your eye can cause fluid to build up and pressure to rise. The pressure can lead to reduced vision and eventual blindness.

Of the many different types of glaucoma, the two most common forms are primary open-angle glaucoma and narrow- or closed-angle glaucoma.

Glaucoma Symptoms & Risk Factors

The early stages of glaucoma have no symptoms. As the disease progresses, you may experience loss of peripheral (side) vision and other vision problems.

Anyone can develop glaucoma, but certain people face a higher risk. Factors that make it more likely to develop the disease include:

  • African or Hispanic heritage
  • Age (over 60)
  • Family history of glaucoma
  • Advanced diabetes
  • Farsightedness (hyperopia) or nearsightedness (myopia)

Glaucoma Diagnosis

Early diagnosis of glaucoma can save your sight. We use the most advanced diagnostic equipment and testing available, including:

  • Visual field and acuity testing, which measures your side (peripheral) and distance vision.
  • Dilated eye exam, which places drops in your eye to widen (dilate) your pupils. An eye specialist then looks at your retina and optic nerve to detect damage or other issues. 
  • Tonometer, an instrument used to the measure the pressure inside your eye (intraocular pressure, or IOP).
  • Optical coherence tomography (OCT), an imaging device used to detect optic nerve damage. It can also measure changes in eye pressure, crucial for controlling glaucoma.
  • Pachymetry (corneal thickness testing), which measures the thickness of your cornea (the transparent layer on the front of your eye). Cornea thickness can interfere with eye pressure readings.

Glaucoma Treatments

Early glaucoma diagnosis and treatment can prevent your eyesight from worsening. Most people with glaucoma start with pills or eye drops to reduce their IOP. Laser procedures and minimally invasive glaucoma surgery may complement or replace medications and help avoid or delay open surgery.

If less-invasive treatments fail to reduce IOP or prevent your glaucoma from advancing, our skilled specialists can preserve your sight with conventional, open glaucoma eye surgery.

Lasers & Our Other Minimally Invasive Treatments

Some of our advanced glaucoma treatment options include:

  • Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty: We are one of the few programs in the region offering this laser treatment, which helps relieve fluid blockage and eye pressure for open-angle glaucoma. This noninvasive procedure is especially effective for helping patients avoid eye surgery. 
  • Diode Laser Cycloablation (Diode CPC): This laser treatment targets the conjunctiva (the membrane that creates fluid in the eye). Other laser procedures work only for certain problems with the angle of your eye’s drains. This procedure can help a wider range of people.
  • Laser Iridotomy: In this treatment for closed- or narrow-angle glaucoma, the laser creates a small opening in the eye’s iris (the circle of color surrounding your pupil). Built-up fluid then drains, reducing eye pressure.
  • Microinvasive Glaucoma Surgery (MIGS): MIGS is the most advanced form of minimally invasive glaucoma surgery, relieving intraocular pressure while also treating any cataracts. We use miniaturized equipment and tiny incisions to treat mild to moderate glaucoma while avoiding potential complications of standard surgery. We use the iStent and Cypass devices and the KDB procedure, which are all approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.