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Glaucoma is a disease in which the optic nerve is damaged, and can lead to blindness if untreated. It is normally associated with increased fluid pressure in the eye, but can also occur with normal or low eye pressures. Glaucoma is often called " the sneak thief of sight " because vision loss occurs gradually over a long period of time, and symptoms do not typically occur until the disease has advanced. It is the second leading cause of blindness after cataracts, and is the leading cause of blindness among African-Americans.

The two main types of glaucoma are open-angle and closed-angle glaucoma. Open angle glaucoma accounts for 90% of glaucoma cases. It is painless; and the only signs are progressive visual field loss and changes in the optic nerve. Closed angle, or acute angle closure glaucoma is an emergency. It occurs when the drainage system of the eye seals shut and does not allow fluid to escape. This results in a dangerously high eye pressure and can lead to blindness quickly, if untreated. The symptoms can include sudden vision loss, pain, seeing halos around lights, eye redness, and nausea and vomiting.

There are several types of "secondary" glaucoma that are caused by long term steroid use, vascular disease in the retina, trauma, and inflammatory diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.

Childhood glaucoma is also known as congenital, pediatric, or infantile glaucoma. It is caused by developmental problems of the eye's drainage system before birth. 10% are present at birth, and 80 % are diagnosed the 1st year of life. Symptoms include buphthalmos ( unusually large eyes ), excessive tearing, cloudy eyes, and light sensitivity. It is treated differently than adult glaucoma, and most require early surgery. Approximately 80-90% of children who receive prompt treatment, long-term care, and monitoring of visual development lead normal, highly active lives.

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COVID-19 UPDATE and your appointment please click here.

Dear Patient,
As a valued patient of the office of William E. Sponsel M.D., we appreciate the trust you place in us and want to inform you about how we are addressing the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation. We are closely monitoring events in our local community and continuously updating our policies and protocols as a result of new information.

Our highest priority is to keep all of our patients and staff as safe as possible. At the recommendation of CDC, we will be screening patients prior to allowing them to enter the facilities. If you have been exposed to anybody that has tested positive for COVID-19, or experiencing fever, cough, or flu-like symptoms please call to re-schedule your appointment.

Should you have an appointment you will be asked to call the office and stay in your vehicle/outside until our patient coordinator calls you to enter for your appointment. They will meet you at the suite, you will be required to fill out a questionnaire about any current medical symptoms so that we do not expose other patients and staff.

We will take your temperature upon entering, if you have a fever, cough, or experiencing any flu-like symptoms the urgency of your appointment will be reassessed by Dr. Sponsel to determine whether or not you will be seen at that time or re-scheduled. Please look for upcoming information regarding COVID-19, as the situation is changing daily.

If you have any questions or concerns about your appointment, please call our office at (210)223-9292, or after hours answering service at (757)-278-1657.
Thank you for your continued trust and loyalty as we work together to fight this virus.

Dr. Sponsel M.D. and staff.

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