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I Think I Have Glaucoma! What Should I Do?

That depends… If you think you have glaucoma, the actions you should take vary depending on your symptoms and what type of glaucoma it is. There are actually a few types of glaucoma, the most common of which is open-angle glaucoma, which affects about 90% of all people diagnosed with this eye disease. Less common, but presenting much more of an immediate threat to your vision, is acute closed or narrow angle glaucoma. Although both types of glaucoma involve elevated pressure of your intraocular fluid, the symptoms and treatment for the different types of glaucoma are not the same.

To find out whether you really have glaucoma and which type it is, you need to visit an eye doctor. We can diagnose or rule out this dangerous eye disease by performing a comprehensive eye exam in our Copperas Cove, Texas, optometry office.

Do I have open-angle glaucoma?

One interesting fact about open-angle glaucoma is that it doesn’t generally cause symptoms until you’ve already suffered significant vision loss. That means once you notice a vision problem, the glaucoma was already there for a long time. Typically, the first sign of open-angle glaucoma is loss of side vision (peripheral vision). If you realize that your side vision isn’t clear, contact our Copperas Cove eye doctor to book an eye exam as soon as possible. If you do have glaucoma, the earlier you start treatment – the more effective it is against further vision loss!

What are the signs of acute closed glaucoma?

People who have acute closed glaucoma (also called narrow-angle glaucoma) often experience extreme eye pain that strikes quickly. Common symptoms include severe throbbing eye pain, headaches on the same side as the painful eye, ocular redness, blurred vision, halos around lights, dilated pupil, and nausea or vomiting.

If you have these symptoms – visit an emergency room immediately. Acute closed glaucoma can damage the optic nerve fast, sometimes within a few hours, and when left untreated the vision loss can be permanent. You may need surgery to open up the drainage canal in your eye so intraocular fluid can drain and lower your eye pressure.

What’s normal tension glaucoma?

In normal tension glaucoma, damage occurs to the optic nerve even though intraocular pressure remains normal. This type of glaucoma is a bit of a mystery, as doctors aren’t certain what causes the damage. Just like open-angle glaucoma, this type develops slowly and doesn’t present symptoms until it has been there for a while. Treatment usually involves surgery.

What happens at the eye doctor?

When you visit Cove Eyecare for glaucoma testing in Copperas Cove, our eye doctor will perform several tests. We’ll measure the pressure in your eye, test your peripheral vision, and use magnification to inspect your optic nerve for any signs of a problem. If you do indeed have glaucoma, the typical frontline treatment involves taking eye drops or pills to manage pressure levels. If medicine doesn’t work sufficiently, you may require laser surgery for glaucoma.

Remember, even if treatment is successful at lowering the fluid pressure in your eye, it’s not a cure for glaucoma. Treatment slows down or stops the progression of the eye disease, but you’ll need to return to our Copperas Cove, Texas, eye care clinic for regular eye exams to monitor the health of your vision.

At Cove Eyecare, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 254-549-1142 or book an appointment online to see one of our Copperas Cove eye doctors.

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What Causes Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness for people above 60 years old. Although it can occur at any age, this eye disease is much more common in older adults. Glaucoma describes a group of eye conditions that can damage the optic nerve, causing vision loss. Most of the time the damage occurs because of abnormally high intraocular pressure.

Since glaucoma can cause irreversible vision loss or blindness, you may assume it begins with serious, disturbing symptoms. Nothing could be further from the truth! Many types of glaucoma start with absolutely no warning signs. The progression of this eye disease can be so gradual that many people don’t experience any symptoms until glaucoma has reached an advanced stage. That’s why regular eye exams are so important! Make sure to get screened regularly for glaucoma by our eye doctor in Copperas Cove, Texas.

Causes of glaucoma

The exact cause of glaucoma isn’t understood by scientists, but many people with this ocular disease have high inner eye pressure, which damages the optic nerve – leading to the development of blind spots in your visual field.

What causes your intraocular pressure to rise? Normally, the aqueous humor (internal fluid in the eye) drains out of your eyes through the trabecular meshwork, a tissue located at the angle where your cornea and iris meet. When there is too much of this fluid or the drainage system doesn’t flow properly, eye pressure goes up.

Less commonly, glaucoma is caused by:

  • Blunt trauma or chemical injury to the eye
  • Severe eye infection
  • Blocked blood vessels inside the eye
  • Inflammatory conditions
  • Risk factors for glaucoma
  • Family eye history of glaucoma; scientists have even identified genes related to elevated eye pressure and damage to the optic nerve
  • High intraocular pressure
  • Being over 60 years old
  • Being black, Asian or Hispanic
  • Specific medical conditions, such as heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, and sickle cell anemia
  • Corneas with a thin center
  • Extreme nearsightedness or farsightedness
  • Past eye injury or having had certain types of eye surgery
  • Taking corticosteroid medications for a long time

Eye exams are key to preventing vision loss from glaucoma

While there is no real way to prevent glaucoma, you can significantly reduce your risk of eye damage by making sure your glaucoma is diagnosed as early as possible. Schedule regular eye exams in our Copperas Cove, Texas, to help prevent glaucoma from damaging your vision.

At Cove Eyecare, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 254-549-1142 or book an appointment online to see one of our Copperas Cove eye doctors.

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Does Obesity Impact Eye Health?

Nation-wide awareness about the vast dangers of obesity is at an all-time high, with TV shows like “The Biggest Loser” and health initiatives such as Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move!” campaign shining a spotlight on the importance of fitness and good nutrition. However, despite the public’s knowledge of obesity’s effects on hypertension, stroke, and diabetes, many are not aware of how it damages eye health and vision.

Increasing evidence shows that people who are clinically obese have an elevated risk of developing serious eye diseases. It is widely known that expanding waistlines place people at a higher risk of getting diabetes, heart disease, and cancer — but researchers say the link between obesity and deteriorating vision is the “risk factor that no one talks about”. Professor Michael Belkin and Dr. Zohar Habot-Wilner, from the Goldschleger Eye Institute at the Sheba Medical Center, found a consistently strong correlation between obesity and the development of four major eye diseases that may cause blindness:

  • Age-related macular degeneration (AMD)
  • Cataracts
  • Glaucoma
  • Diabetic retinopathy

The researchers said that although the evidence was out there suggesting a link between obesity and these conditions, their study emphasizes the optometric risks of obesity which can help motivate people to shed those extra pounds.

How Obesity Contributes to Eye Disease

A Body Mass Index (BMI) of 25 is considered overweight and above 30 is regarded as obese. A high BMI is tied to several chronic systemic health conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and stroke, among others. Recent research indicates that a handful of ocular diseases can now be added to that list.

Serious eye conditions such as diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, and age-related macular degeneration are more common in individuals with obesity, as well as floppy eyelid syndrome, retinal vein occlusions, thyroid-related eye diseases, and stroke-related vision loss.

The connection between obesity and these eye diseases is likely due to the increased risk of peripheral artery disease. This occurs when the tiny blood vessels bringing oxygen to parts of your body like the feet, kidneys, and eyes become compromised.

Your eyes are particularly prone to damage from obesity because the blood vessels in the eyes (called arterioles) are easily blocked, since they’re extremely thin and small — as thin as ½ the width of a human hair!

Most people are not aware that obesity may increase the rate of developing cataracts, too. Cataracts result when the focusing lens in the eye becomes cloudy and requires surgery to be replaced. In addition to age, cataract development is associated with obesity, poor nutrition, gout, diabetes and high blood sugar levels, though the exact cause isn’t clear.

A Healthy Lifestyle Can Reduce Your Risk of Ocular Disease

Knowing about the risk of vision loss may give those with a high BMI the extra motivational boost they need to lose weight. The good news is that a few lifestyle changes can reduce the associated risks.

An active lifestyle and a balanced, nutritious diet lower obesity and improve overall physical and eye health. Give your body a boost by incorporating important nutrients, such as vitamins C and E, zeaxanthin, omega 3, zinc, and lutein, many of which are found in green leafy and dark orange vegetables, as they have been shown to reduce the onset, progression, and severity of certain eye diseases.

We Can Help Keep Your Eyes Healthy in Copperas Cove

While a healthy diet and regular exercise greatly increase your chances of living a disease-free long life, they alone are not enough to ensure long term healthy eyesight. Regular eye exams with Dr. Micheline Young can help prevent or detect the onset of ocular disease, and maintain vision that is clear and comfortable.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding your vision or eye health, don’t hesitate to call Cove Eyecare — we’re here for you.

3 Ways Diabetes Can Affect Your Vision and Eyes

Did you know that people with diabetes are 20 times more likely to get eye diseases than those without it? There are three major eye conditions that diabetics are at risk for developing: cataracts, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy. To prevent these sight-threatening diseases, it’s important to control your blood sugar level and have your eyes checked at least once a year by an eye doctor.

But First, What Is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a disease that is associated with high blood glucose levels. Insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas, helps our cells get energy from the sugars we eat. Diabetes develops when the body doesn’t produce or respond to insulin effectively, leaving too much sugar in the blood stream instead. Over time, diabetes can lead to potentially irreversible ocular damage and poor eyesight. However, by taking care of your blood sugar levels and your eyes, you can prevent vision loss.

Annual eye exams are recommended for everyone, but routine screenings are even more important for diabetics. Eye doctors may send diabetic eye health reports to a patient’s primary care physician or internist to adjust medication as needed to prevent complications.

What’s the Link Between Vision and Diabetes?

Blurred vision or fluctuating eyesight clarity is often one of the first noticeable signs that diabetes has begun to affect your eyes. Sometimes, fluid leaking into the eye causes the lens to swell and change shape. This, in turn, makes it difficult for the eyes to focus, resulting in fuzzy vision. Such symptoms can indicate that an eye disease is developing, or may simply be due to imbalanced blood sugar levels which can be rectified by getting your blood sugar back to healthy levels.

If you start to notice blurry vision, make an appointment with Dr. Micheline Young as soon as possible.

The 3 Ways Diabetes Impacts Vision


While cataracts are extremely common and a part of the natural aging process, those with diabetes tend to develop cataracts earlier in life. Characterized by a clouding or fogging of the lens within the eye, cataracts impede light from entering the eye, causing blurred vision and glares. The best treatment is cataract surgery, which is very safe and effective.


Glaucoma refers to a group of eye diseases characterized by optic nerve damage. Since it tends to impact peripheral vision first, glaucoma often goes unnoticed until significant damage has occurred. However, routine glaucoma screenings can detect warning signs; early treatment can prevent disease progression and vision loss.

Although there is no true cure for glaucoma, most glaucoma patients successfully manage it with special eye drops, medication, and on occasion, laser treatment or other surgery. The earlier glaucoma is diagnosed and managed, the better the outcome.

Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy occurs when the small blood vessels on your retina (capillaries) become weakened and then balloon (microaneurysm) due to poorly controlled blood sugar levels. The resulting poor blood circulation in the back of the eye causes more abnormal blood vessels to grow, which also bleed or leak fluid, and can lead to scar tissue, retinal detachment and even blindness, over time.

Often there are no symptoms until the advanced stages of diabetic retinopathy, where patients may begin to see spots and missing patches in their vision. Retinopathy can be treated through surgery and eye injections, but the best way to prevent this disease from progressing is to regularly have your eyes screened.

The good news is that diabetic eye disease can often be prevented with early detection, proper management of your diabetes and regular diabetic eye exams. Contact Cove Eyecare in Copperas Cove to set up your eye doctor’s appointment today.

Sleep Apnea & Glaucoma: Is There a Connection?

Do you think there is a link between how you sleep and your eyesight?

Are you a snorer? If you wake others and yourself with your nightly noise, there’s a good chance you have obstructive sleep apnea. In addition to making you a terrible roommate, this sleep disorder also robs you of your zzz’s – leading to daytime grogginess and putting you at risk for a long list of health problems. While you may be familiar with many of these problems, (such as memory loss, hypertension, and weight gain), are you aware that it can also raise your risk of glaucoma?

A 2019 article published in The Journal of Glaucoma reported the results of a US-based study that involved more than 6,700 people over 40 years old, and a strong link was found between having glaucoma and sleep problems. Want to learn more? Our eye doctor at Cove Eyecare explains all about glaucoma and the connection to getting enough sleep.

What is glaucoma?

Glaucoma is an ocular disease that involves progressive damage to the optic nerve. When your optic nerve is damaged, you suffer vision loss (which can lead to blindness). Generally, glaucoma is accompanied by increased intraocular pressure. That’s why our Copperas Cove, Texas, eye doctor measures the pressure in your eyeball as a part of your comprehensive eye exam; it is an essential part of glaucoma screening. ‘

What is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)?

If you have OSA, the muscles in your airway relax as you sleep, which prevents you from breathing normally. Some people with sleep apnea can stop breathing for as long as two minutes! The classic symptoms include snoring loudly, gasping for air as you sleep, dry mouth/sore throat, unexplained sleepiness during the day, and waking up with a headache.

What’s the connection between glaucoma and sleep?

Obstructive sleep apnea can lead to hypoxia, which is a reduction in the oxygen levels in your blood. Over time, these lower levels of oxygen may disrupt the normal blood flow to the optic nerve.

Also, as our Copperas Cove, Texas, eye doctor explains, obstructive sleep apnea also causes blood pressure to fluctuate, which can change the balance between blood pressure and intraocular pressure.

There’s a lot of research going on to explore this topic, and our Copperas Cove, Texas, stays current with the latest advances and news. At present, some studies are having patients wear specialized contact lenses while sleeping. These contacts have detected significant changes in intraocular pressure as the people dozed. As a result, an insufficient amount of oxygen reaches the eye, depriving it of the much-needed nourishment that healthy vision needs and leading to optic nerve damage.

How can you help reduce your risk of glaucoma if you have sleep apnea?

If you are diagnosed with OSA, your physician may recommend therapy with a CPAP machine (continuous positive airway pressure). This device is worn while you sleep, and once the OSA is treated properly – the risk for glaucoma and other serious eye diseases goes down.

Why are eye exams so important for people with sleep apnea?

Based on recent studies, our Copperas Cove, Texas, eye doctor recommends that every patient with OSA visit for regular, comprehensive eye exams. These studies showed that glaucoma patients with obstructive sleep apnea were found to have higher eye pressure levels, more extensive damage to their field of vision, and more thinning of the nerve layer in the retina – when compared to people who do not suffer from OSA. And the earlier your eye doctor detects a change in your eye health and/or increase in your intraocular pressure, the earlier you can benefit from treatment to safeguard your vision.

Bottom line: if you have sleep apnea, be sure to tell your eye doctor and to visit Cove Eyecare regularly for eye exams!

At Cove Eyecare, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 254-549-1142 or book an appointment online to see one of our Copperas Cove eye doctors.

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