Glaucoma it is often referred to as a “silent thief “because of its ability to slowly rob a person of their vision in the absence of other symptoms. In simple terms, glaucoma is a disease that destroys the nerve fibers that connect the eye to the brain. This can result in a gradual, almost undetectable loss of vision. Severe cases can end in complete blindness.
Although there are many forms, glaucoma is most commonly seen in two varieties:
Open-angle glaucoma is the most common form. The risk of developing glaucoma increases with age, as the drainage of fluid from the eye becomes less efficient over time, causing an increase in eye pressure. Unfortunately, open angle glaucoma has no symptoms in the early stages and can easily go undetected for years. Since glaucoma can be completely a symptomatic, early detection and treatment are key to preventing blindness. That is why we recommend periodic eye examinations for all adults.
Narrow-angle glaucoma occurs when the iris (colored part of the eye) blocks the “drain” completely, causing pressure in the eye to build rapidly and sometimes painfully. This can quickly become a medical emergency. Acute narrow angle glaucoma can cause the sudden onset of a red, painful eye with poor vision.
New Treatment Options
Historically, glaucoma has been treated with either eye drops or surgery to relieve pressure. Recent advances have provided us with a greatly expanded range of options, including laser treatments such as selective laser trabeculoplasty, cyclophotocoagulation, a host of new glaucoma eye drops and a number of new micro-incisional glaucoma surgeries (MIGS) that address the internal drainage structures of the eye in new and innovative ways. For instance, canaloplastyreestablishes the fluid circulation within the eye much like angioplasty improves blood flow to the heart without having to undergo major open heart surgery. The combination of new procedures, diagnostic capabilities and medications has given our doctors the upper hand in dealing with this dreaded disease.
Our mission is to utilize the most advanced technology and latest advantages in drug therapy and surgical innovation to help us diagnose and treat your glaucoma. Based on sophisticated imaging of your retina and nerve fiber layer utilizing spectral domain optical coherence tomography, we will create a customized treatment plan to combat your glaucoma. In addition to recommending the most advanced medication available, when indicated, we will suggest other modalities such as laser treatment or micro-incisional glaucoma surgery. Should you be a candidate for an investigational treatment, rest assured that we work closely with the region’s best tertiary care specialists and will assist you in coordinating entry into an appropriate study.
What You Need to Know
The diagnosis and treatment of glaucoma has evolved tremendously over the past decade. Advances in diagnostic instrumentation, laser technology and minimally invasive glaucoma surgical techniques (MIGS) have allowed us to greatly reduce the impact of this terrible disease on our patients. Since early detection is critical, we recommend regular eye examinations for everyone, and no less than annual eye examinations for persons with a family history of glaucoma. We are very excited about recent advances in the treatment of glaucoma and look forward to sharing their benefits with you. Our patient coordinators look forward to answering your questions and assisting you in arranging an appointment.