Glaucoma is a disease that damages the eye’s optic nerve. It is the optic nerve that sends signals from your retina to your brain, where these signals are interpreted as the images you see.
Glaucoma is a disease that damages the eye’s optic nerve. It is the optic nerve that sends signals from your retina to your brain, where these signals are interpreted as the images you see. State-of-the-art diagnostic and monitoring equipment give our experienced eye doctors the edge in treating and diagnosing all types of glaucoma. There are a variety of treatments for glaucoma, including eyedrops and laser treatment called Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT). New Eyes can address this debilitating eye condition and prevent the problem from getting worse.
Those at Risk for Glaucoma
People at risk for Glaucoma include:
- Individuals over 40
- African-Americans 35 and older
- People with a family history of the disease
- Extremely near-sighted individuals
- Long-term steroid users
Symptoms of Glaucoma
Unfortunately, Glaucoma rarely has symptoms that can warn you that something is wrong. Glaucoma is often called “the silent thief of sight” since it doesn’t hurt and steals the vision very slowly. A gradual loss of vision will occur over a period of weeks, months, or years before you even realize that you are losing your vision. The good news is, advanced diagnostic equipment can help detect glaucoma before you experience symptoms and the problem can be addressed very early. Most glaucoma can be managed without surgery, and with proper treatment, patients can expect to see normally their entire life. New Eyes doctors are very experienced in treating glaucoma and are committed to saving your vision.
Causes of Glaucoma
Glaucoma is often caused by increased pressure in the eye; however, this is not always the case, and some patients experience normal pressures and still develop the disease. It is imperative that patients be checked for glaucoma on a routine basis to ensure early detection. Click on the illustration at left to view the development of glaucoma.
Glaucoma Diagnostic Testing
Our eye doctors can diagnose glaucoma with a comfortable screening here at our practice. We can measure eye pressure, test your side vision, and evaluate the health of your optic nerve to see if the internal symptoms of glaucoma are present.
Glaucoma can be treated in a number of ways, including medicinal eye drops and laser procedures. Eye drops can control glaucoma, but it will not cure it. Laser surgery with Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty has been shown to be very effective in glaucoma patients who have not benefited from eye drop treatments. The procedure addresses the area surrounding the iris that is responsible for drainage of the eye fluid. SLT works to maintain the effectiveness of these drainage canals and treat the damaged tissue. SLT for glaucoma treatment can help reduce and even stop the need for ongoing glaucoma medication, and the procedure can be repeated in the future.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
While the doctors at New Eyes would be happy to personally and thoroughly answer any inquiries you may have, here is a list of answers to some of the more commonly asked questions they receive:
How do I know which glaucoma treatment I should undergo?
The method of treatment for glaucoma depends on the disease’s severity in each patient. Eye drops can often help lower pressure in the eye by decreasing the amount of fluid produced or improving the flow of drainage. Glaucoma characterized by a larger amount of pressure buildup can often be treated with SLT to open the eye’s drainage system. An experienced New Eyes doctor can examine your unique case and determine the best treatment to preserve your vision.
When should I check if I have glaucoma?
Most glaucoma patients begin to notice symptoms starting at age 40. If you are in this age range, it is wise to undergo a glaucoma screening every 3-5 years. However, if your parents or siblings have been diagnosed with glaucoma, a screening may be necessary sooner and more often. Glaucoma can be hereditary, so early detection is the best chance at slowing the progression of the disease. Because you cannot recover the vision lost to glaucoma, generally, the earlier you are diagnosed, the less vision loss you will face. Also, keep in mind that it’s generally recommended to have a routine eye examination at least once per year.
Is there only one type of glaucoma?
No, glaucoma is characterized by three types: open-angle, narrow-angle, and low-tension. Open-angle glaucoma occurs when there are problems with the eye’s drainage system – this is the type seen most commonly. The aqueous fluid has access to the drainage system, but does not flow properly through it. Narrow-angle glaucoma is typically more severe and occurs when access to the drainage system is blocked, resulting in rapid eye pressure buildup because the fluid has nowhere to drain. There have also been instances of low-tension glaucoma, in which there is no excess eye pressure, but the optic nerve is still damaged.
What happens if I don’t treat my glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a progressive disease; unfortunately, left untreated, it can result in total vision loss and is known as the second leading cause of blindness in the world. However, glaucoma can often be treated and managed without much change to one’s life. With regular checkups and professional treatment from New Eyes doctors, you can go a long way toward retaining your sight for the rest of your life.
Please contact New Eyes for more information on glaucoma, or to schedule an appointment for diagnosis and/or treatment for the condition. Please remember that glaucoma is a progressive condition and early detection and treatment is crucial for the health of your vision.