St. George Glaucoma Care

St. George Glaucoma

Understanding Glaucoma in Optometry and Ophthalmology


Glaucoma is a group of ophthalmological diseases that can damage the eye’s optic nerve and result in permanent vision loss and blindness. It is the second leading cause of blindness and the leading cause of preventable blindness in the United States. The incidence of Glaucoma increases with age up to about 20% for those 80 and over.

Approximately 3 million people have glaucoma and about half are not aware that they have the disease. Glaucoma can cause permanent and serious vision loss resulting in restricted tunnel vision and eventually complete blindness. However, with early treatment, you can often protect your eyes against serious vision loss. The concern is that early glaucoma has no symptoms such as pain, redness or noticeable changes in vision. By the time patients notice changes in vision from glaucoma, blindness is impending.

An annual dilated eye exam protects from permanent vision loss. During your eye examination, your eye pressure and the condition of the optic nerve will be measured. If signs of glaucoma exist, more tests will be conducted and Dr. Graf will create a custom glaucoma treatment plan in our St. George, Utah clinic to maintain your vision. Dr. Graf specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of all types of glaucoma.

If you live in St George or the surrounding area and suffer from Glaucoma or if you have not had an annual ophthalmological or optometric eye exam, please call to schedule an appointment.

Glaucoma Fequently Asked Questions

Who is at risk for glaucoma?

Anyone can develop glaucoma. Some people are at higher risk than others. They include:

  • Everyone over age 60.
  • People with a family history of glaucoma.
  • People having hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes.
  • African Americans over age 40.

Does increased eye pressure mean that I have glaucoma?

Not necessarily. Increased eye pressure means you are at risk for glaucoma but does not mean you have the disease. A person has glaucoma only if the optic nerve is damaged. If you have increased eye pressure but no damage to the optic nerve, you do not have glaucoma. However, you are at risk. Follow the advice of your eye care physician.

Can I develop glaucoma without an increase in my eye pressure?

Yes. Glaucoma can develop without increased eye pressure. This form of glaucoma is called low-tension or normal-tension glaucoma. It is not as common as open-angle glaucoma.

What can I do to protect my vision?

Studies have shown that the early detection and treatment of glaucoma before it causes major vision loss, is the best way to control the disease. So, if you fall into one of the high-risk groups for the disease, make sure to have your eyes examined through dilated pupils every year by an eye care physician. If you are being treated for glaucoma, be sure to take your glaucoma medicine every day and see your eye care professional regularly. You also can help protect the vision of family members and friends who are at high risk for glaucoma by encouraging them to have a comprehensive dilated eye exam every year.

Why should I choose Graf Medical Eye Care for my Glaucoma screening or treatment?

Dr. Graf is uniquely experienced in the area of glaucoma diagnosis and treatment. Graf Medical Eye Care & Vision Center has helped hundreds of St George residents fight glaucoma successfully with the latest in medical eye care and treatment. In addition to the extensive knowledge, you will benefit from the extra time and attention you will receive from both Dr. Graf and his staff. You will be treated with respect and compassion. Our patients enjoy the association with us. Schedule an appointment today and let us help you retain your vision. Remember: Lowering eye pressure in glaucoma’s early stages slows progression of the disease and helps save vision.

What are the symptoms of glaucoma?

At first, there are no symptoms. Vision stays normal, and there is no pain. However, as the disease progresses, a person with glaucoma may notice his or her side vision gradually failing. That is, objects in front may still be seen clearly, but objects to the side may be missed. Without treatment, people with glaucoma will slowly lose their peripheral vision leading to restricted tunnel vision. Over time, straight-ahead vision may decrease until no vision remains. Glaucoma can initially be in one eye only, but eventually, the disease tends to develop in both eyes.

How is glaucoma detected?

Screening for risk of Glaucoma is accomplished by having an annual ophthalmological or optometric dilated eye exam. During your examination at Graf Medical Eye Care & Vision Center, Dr. Graf and staff will perform a number of tests in order to make the most accurate diagnosis of Glaucoma. These may include the following testing procedures:

If you live in St George or the surrounding area and suffer from Glaucoma or if you have not had an annual ophthalmological or optometric eye exam, please call to schedule an appointment.


The Tonometry Test is a method of measuring your Intraocular Pressure (IOP). There is no discomfort involved and no bothersome air puff. The test is quick and gives Dr. Graf the first piece of important information in determining whether you have Glaucoma.

Ophthalmoscopy/Retinal Photography

This is a method of carefully examining the inside of the eye in our St. George clinic. Some eye drops will be placed in your eyes in order to dilate your pupils so that Dr. Graf can make a clear and direct observation of the optic nerve. The examination will take place in a darkened room using different types of lenses in order to examine the shape and color of your optic nerve. Retinal photography provides a permanent image that can be used to document the changes that happen with glaucoma and help provide an earlier diagnosis.

If either your Intraocular Pressure (IOP) is elevated or your optic nerve appears unusual, additional tests will be necessary in order to complete the Glaucoma examination. These may include the following test procedures: 

Visual Field Perimetry

Perimetry or Visual Field testing is a critical part of the Glaucoma examination. A computer program will present a number of lights in different positions of your peripheral vision to see how far your side vision extends in various directions. The computer will then plot an actual map of your field of vision so that Dr. Graf can interpret this map in conjunction with other examination tests in order to understand how well your optic nerve is functioning.


Your eye care professional uses an instrument to measure the thickness of your cornea.


Gonioscopy is a quick and painless test that views the angle where the iris meets the cornea. By observing the angle and its status Dr. Graf will know more about whether you are at risk for the angle to become closed or whether the trabecular meshwork appears to have a normal anatomical structure.

Optic Nerve Computer Imaging

At the Graf Eye Center, we use advanced computer imaging technology in order to make the earliest and most accurate diagnosis of Glaucoma. Our Optic Nerve Computer Imaging system is called the Zeiss Cirrus Optic Nerve Head Analysis.

The Zeiss Cirrus Optic Nerve Head Analysis uses an imaging method called “confocal laser ophthalmoscopy” to scan the retinal surface and optic nerve with a laser. It then constructs a topographic three dimensional (3-D) image of the optic nerve and measures the thickness of the retinal nerve fiber layer. These are very precise measurements that Dr. Graf will interpret in conjunction with the other Glaucoma tests at your examination.

The goal of the Zeiss Cirrus Optic Nerve Head Analysis Imaging is to give eye specialists the ability to detect the slightest loss of optic nerve fibers, at the earliest possible moment, in order to begin the treatment of Glaucoma to stop the progression of the disease and permanently preserve your vision.

Can glaucoma be treated?

Yes. There is no cure for glaucoma, so treatment focuses on prevention of further damage and stabilization of the current condition. Any nerve damage or loss from undiagnosed or untreated glaucoma is permanent and cannot be fixed. Glaucoma treatments usually begin with eye drop medication because of their safety and excellent effectivity. If progression still occurs then other options that are more invasive are available which include: laser trabeculoplasty, conventional invasive glaucoma microsurgery, or a combination of any of these. While these treatments may save remaining vision, they do not improve sight already lost from glaucoma. Thus the importance of early diagnosis and timely treatment in our St. George clinic.

Take care of your eyes with a Comprehensive Ophthalmological Vision Checkup and Eye Exam at Graf Medical Eye Care & Vision Center. Start Protecting Your Vision Today.

Glaucoma is not a single eye disease but is a collective term that is used to describe a broad range of eye diseases that can damage the optic nerve and cause loss of vision. Many patients believe that Glaucoma is simply due to a high pressure within the eye. While a high Intraocular pressure can be one cause of Glaucoma, and in fact is the most common cause of Glaucoma, a high IOP may not be the only cause of the disease. There are a number of possible causes of Glaucoma. Regardless of the cause, the various types of Glaucoma share a common factor,if not diagnosed early, treated properly, and controlled; it will result in permanent vision loss. 

Glaucoma is particularly worrisome because most serious eye problems usually produce some symptoms that make patients uncomfortable or disturb their vision. Unfortunately, Glaucoma can begin without any symptoms or obvious loss of vision. In this way, it is quite insidious in onset, and if not diagnosed and treated early in its course, will lead to progressive, permanent, and unnoticed vision loss. This is what makes it essential to diagnose and treat Glaucoma as early in its course as possible. Regular dilated eye exams provide protection from vision loss relating to glaucoma.

Glaucoma is a very complex eye disease, and not simply an elevated Intraocular Pressure (IOP). Nonetheless, when detected early it can be successfully treated. The Graf Medical Eye Care Center provides comprehensive diagnostic testing and treatment for Glaucoma, as well as taking the time necessary to give each patient the personal education needed to fully understand their condition.

Everyone is at risk for Glaucoma. However, depending on your general health, eye health and other family history considerations, there are a number of factors that may influence your likelihood of developing Glaucoma. These “Glaucoma Risk Factors” are important to understand in assessing your own personal risk for developing Glaucoma.

Glaucoma risk factors include the following

  • High Intraocular Pressure
    A key warning sign of Glaucoma is having a higher than normal Intraocular Pressure (IOP). Anyone with an elevated Intraocular Pressure (IOP) is considered to be at risk for developing Glaucoma.
  • Age
    There is a direct relationship between age and the likelihood of developing Glaucoma. The chances of developing Glaucoma increase considerably after the age of 40. In fact you are six times more likely to get Glaucoma if you are over 60 years of age, even if you have no other family or medical history that is significant, and your risk is greater if you have any family history of Glaucoma or other systemic or eye disease that compromises your circulation such as diabetes or hypertension.
  • Race
    Race plays a significant role in the likelihood of developing Glaucoma. African-Americans have certain genetic factors that cause a higher likelihood of developing Glaucoma. In fact, they have a six to eight-fold increase in risk for Glaucoma, thus it is the leading cause of blindness in African-Americans. Asians appear to have a higher risk of developing Narrow-Angle Glaucoma. In addition, Hispanics over the age of 60 seem to be at increased risk as well.
  • Myopia
    Certain patients who are severely nearsighted have an anatomically related higher risk of developing Glaucoma.
  • Hypertension or High Blood Pressure
    It is absolutely critical that patients who have hypertension or high blood pressure take their prescribed medication on a consistent basis. However, patients who take medication for high blood pressure may be at greater risk for Glaucoma as a result of the medication lowering blood pressure and thus decreasing circulation within the optic nerve.
  • Diabetes
    Diabetes can cause general problems with circulation throughout the body, including the eye. As a result of the poor circulation, patients with diabetes are considered to be at greater risk for developing Glaucoma.
  • Family History
    Any family history of Glaucoma is considered a very significant risk factor. If any members of your family have been diagnosed with Glaucoma, it increases the likelihood that you will develop Glaucoma by 4-9 times over the general population. This is particularly true for siblings of Glaucoma patients.
  • Other Glaucoma Risk Factors
    In addition to these factors, if you have had trauma to your eyes (i.e. a sports injury or car accident) or if you have been treated for Asthma for long periods of time with steroid inhalers or have a corneal thickness less than .5mm, you too may have an increased risk for Glaucoma.

Take care of your eyes with a Comprehensive Ophthalmological Vision Checkup and Eye Exam at Graf Medical Eye Care & Vision Center. Start Protecting Your Vision Today.

Call (435) 634-0420 Now to Book Your Initial Consultation