Glaucoma is an eye disease that is one of the leading causes of blindness in the United States. Glaucoma is fairly common in adults over age 35. Two out of every 100 people in this age group have vision threatened by this disease. When diagnosed early, blindness from glaucoma can usually be prevented.

The key to preventing optic nerve damage, or blindness from glaucoma, is early diagnosis and treatment. Medical eye examinations from your eye care professional are the best defense against glaucoma.

The Glaucoma Examination

servicespg-images-glaucoma

If you are over age 35, you should have your eyes checked for glaucoma every two or three years. There are two major categories of glaucoma, open angle and narrow angle. The most common is Open Angle Glaucoma which has no symptoms in its early stages. Your optometrist or ophthalmologist can make the diagnosis. During the painless examination, the pressure of the eye will be measured. This is only part of the examination for glaucoma. Using an instrument called an ophthalmoscope, the doctor will examine the back of your eye to see if the optic nerve appears healthy. Side vision will be grossly tested for shrinkage or blind spots. If anything looks suspicious, other tests may be performed.

Medical glaucoma treatment

Control of glaucoma by drugs can only be effective if a patient adheres to the treatment schedule prescribed by their eye doctor. The treatment team includes both you and your doctor. Medication should never be stopped without first consulting your doctor. It is always important to inform all the physicians you visit about the eye medications you are currently using. Remember, it is your vision, and you must do your part in maintaining it. Your eye care professional should be consulted whenever there is any decrease in vision or increase in pain.

Glaucoma Treatment

dry-eye

EYE DROPS

Glaucoma is usually controlled with eye drops used two to four times a day or by pills taken in various combinations. These medications act to decrease eye pressure either by assisting flow of fluid out of the eye or by decreasing the amount of fluid entering the eye. To be effective, these medications must be taken regularly and continually.

Patients with any type of glaucoma need periodic examination. Glaucoma sometimes gets worse (or better) without the patient being aware of it, and as a result, treatment may need to be changed after a while. As a rule, damage caused by glaucoma cannot be reversed. Eye drops, pills, and surgery are used to prevent further damage from occurring and to preserve existing vision.

However, treatment may occasionally result in unwanted side effects. You should notify your eye doctor immediately if there is a question of possible side effects.

Surgical Options for Open Angle Glaucoma

The goal of all glaucoma surgery is to lower eye pressure which prevents or reduces damage to the optic nerve.

Minimally Invasive Glaucoma Surgery (MIGs)

Minimally Invasive Glaucoma Surgery (MIGs) procedures work by using microscopic sized devices and equipment. Traditional glaucoma surgeries, although effective in lowering eye pressure, have a long list of potential complications. The incidence of complication is greatly reduced, but some degree of effectiveness is traded with the increased safety. Eyesight Associates currently offers the iStent in combination with cataract surgery and plans to offer new devices as they become available.

Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT)

Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT) is a laser treatment for glaucoma in which your physician uses a laser beam to treat the ring of tissue within your eye called the trabecular meshwork. The laser improves the flow of fluid through the eye and decreases pressure within the eye. SLT helps protect the optic nerve and may reduce the number of eye drops or medications you need to control your glaucoma.

Endocycloablation

Endocycloablation is a laser application to the ciliary processes within the eye. This structure is responsible for producing eye fluids. Since the eye has to be entered, it is usually combined with other eye surgery procedures. The procedure decreases the production and the eye pressure. Eyesight’s Laser and Surgery Center has the only endo laser in Middle Georgia.

Transscleral Cycloablation

Transscleral Cycloablation is a laser application that decreases fluid production. Eyesight’s Laser and Surgery Center has the only MicroPulse P3 in Middle Georgia. This system has an incredible advantage over other systems as the laser is delivered through the surface of the eye rather than inside of the eye.  This greatly reduces risk and provides more predictable results.

Express shunt

The EX-PRESS® Glaucoma Filtration Device is intended to reduce IOP in glaucoma patients when medication and conventional surgical treatments have failed. The device directs aqueous humor through channel towards the external eye creating a subconjunctival filtration bleb. The uniform filtration helps to stabilize IOP during and after the procedure.

Goniotomy

Goniotomy is a surgical procedure where an incision is made through the trabecular meshwork to ease the outflow of fluid to reduce the eye pressure.

Narrow Angle Glaucoma

The less common form of glaucoma is narrow angle glaucoma. This can be a devastating condition with the onset of intense pain and rapid vision loss.

Lens Extraction for Narrow Aangle Glaucoma Treatment

Over 30 years ago, Dr. Gayton began performing an innovative and effective treatment for patients with narrow angle glaucoma. The procedure involves using lens extraction to open the peripheral angle and increase the depth of the anterior chamber. This serves to reduce the intraocular pressure (IOP) in most patients and frequently results in improved vision.  All of our surgeons, as well as numerous surgeons worldwide, have adopted this technique and have performed thousands of lens extractions to improve narrow angles.