What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a disease caused by increased intraocular pressure (IOP) resulting either from an overproduction of fluid or from a malfunction of the eye's drainage structures. Left untreated, an elevated IOP causes irreversible damage to the optic nerve and retinal fibers, which leads to progressive and permanent vision loss. Early detection and treatment can slow or halt the progression of the disease.
Essentially, glaucoma occurs when the delicate balance between the production and drainage of aqueous is thrown off-balance. Common types of glaucoma are open angle and acute angle closure.
The danger of glaucoma lies in its lack of symptoms. Generally, it takes a routine eye exam to detect the disease. However, acute angle closure may cause a sudden decrease in vision, extreme eye pain, headache, nausea or vomiting, or acute glare and light sensitivity.
Most patients with glaucoma require only medication to control the eye pressure. Sometimes more than one medication will be prescribed. Surgery is indicated when medical treatment fails to lower the pressure satisfactorily. The purpose of surgery is to allow fluid to drain from the eye more efficiently so IOP is not elevated.
Advanced technology has led to several surgical treatments for glaucoma including:
- iStent - the smallest medical device known to be implanted i nthe human body - is a tiny stent that is designed to restore yor eye's natural ability to drain fluid out of the eye to reduce glaucoma pressure. iStent is designed to be implanted during cataract surgery.
- Kahook Dual Blade Goniotomy - performed with or without cataract surgery. It involves opening part of the drain in the eye to improve the outflow of fluid, which lowers eye pressure.
- SLT - Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty, or SLT, is a highly effective laser procedure that reduces eye pressure by stimulating a natural healing response. SLT results in eye pressure drop equivalent to the pressure drop experienced from daily use of eye drops without the systemic side effects, cost issues and need for daily drops.
For more information about glaucoma and available treatment options,
contact Brandon Eye Associates at (813) 684-2211.