By Brad J. Stuckenschneider, MD, FACS
Since January is Glaucoma Awareness Month, it is important to understand the facts about glaucoma. Glaucoma is a group of diseases that can damage the optic nerve. In most cases, the ocular pressure is increased. There are often no symptoms in its early stages. In the United States, 2.7 million people have glaucoma and 50% do not even know they have it! Left uncontrolled, it can lead to vision loss and blindness. The best way to catch glaucoma early is to have regular eye exams.
People at higher risk include African Americans over age 40, everyone over age 60, and people with a family history of glaucoma. People at higher risk for glaucoma need to get dilated eye examinations at least every 2 years. During your eye exam, your eye doctor uses special instruments to check your eye pressure and to view the drainage area and optic nerve. Advanced testing can also be performed to check your visual field (peripheral vision).
Treatment can prevent or limit vision loss from glaucoma. The goal of treatment is to control glaucoma by lowering eye pressure. Your doctor can suggest what treatment is best for you. Eye drops are the most common treatment for glaucoma. Some medicines reduce the amount of fluid your eyes make, others increase drainage in the eye. In severe cases of glaucoma, lasers or eye surgery may be used to increase drainage.
It’s up to you to protect your eyes from glaucoma. Have eye exams as often as your doctor suggests. If your have glaucoma, use your medicine as prescribed. Your eyes are a precious resource!.
Dr. Stuckenschneider began practicing ophthalmology in Poplar Bluff in 1998 after five years of practice in St. Louis. He joined Eye Care Specialists in May of 2003 to help expand the multiple services offered by the practice, and he serves as Director of the Poplar Bluff facility. Also, Dr. Stuckenschneider is a founding member of Black River Medical Center.
Dr. Stuckenschneider graduated with honors from St. Louis University and completed his Doctor of Medicine degree at the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Medicine where he was a member of the prestigious Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society. He completed his ophthalmology residency at the Medical College of Wisconsin where he published several medical articles and received various awards for excellence in ophthalmology. His training involves all aspects of general ophthalmology with a special interest in cataract surgery. He is board certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology, is a member of the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), and is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons.
In Dr. Stuckenschneider’s spare time, you can find him coaching ball at one of his son’s games, running in distance competitions with his wife, or enjoying family time at home in Poplar Bluff with his wife and four children.