Millions of people with glaucoma don’t realize they have it

Over 3-million people in the United States are affected by glaucoma and half of those people don’t even know it.

That’s according to Dr. Jeffrey Whitman, with Key-Whitman Eye Center.

He says the older we get, the more important it is to get annual eye exams.

"It affects the vision first and slowly if not treated, it can take away all of your vision," said Dr. Whitman.

Eye doctors check your eye pressure and optic nerve to make sure you’re not losing your vision, but if you have glaucoma, you may qualify for MIGS also known as the mico invasive glaucoma surgery.

"Your only chance to have MIGS surgery and to have it paid for with your insurance is to have it done with your cataract surgery." said Dr. Whitman.

Dr. Whitman says that only applies if you have mild to moderate glaucoma.

The same advanced technology used to get rid of cataracts can help with MIGS.

"The advantage of having MIGS surgery is that generally glaucoma patients are on very costly drops that they may use many times a day, insurance may cover part of it, they may not, but MIGS surgery will probably get maybe 80 percent of the patients off of at least one of their medicated drops and that may be the only drop they are on, so they are not using any drops anymore, so they get better control and they get to save money from their pocket book because they are not having to pay for their drops anymore." said Dr. Whitman.

Whitman says untreated glaucoma could cause blindness and once you lose your vision, you can not get it back.

"After patients have had their cataract surgery along with the MIGS procedure, they are really thrilled about their new improved vision, but having the MIGS is like icing on the cake." said Dr. Whitman.