Glaucoma is the leading cause of preventable blindness in the United States and the world. It can affect patients of all ages, but tends to be more prevalent with increasing age. It refers to a group of diseases that cause progressive damage to the optic nerve (the connection between the eye and the brain) from elevated pressure (IOP or intraocular pressure) in the eye, although, some patients may have normal intraocular pressure. Glaucoma may result from injury, a blocked blood vessel, diabetes, and inflammatory conditions of the eye. If you have any questions, call Dr. Mollick and Dr. Greenberg at their office in Levittown, New York.
There are many different varieties of glaucoma, the most common types being open- and closed- angle. The angle of the eye is a structure where the cornea or clear part of the eye meets the iris (colored part of the eye.) The trabecular meshwork resides in the angle, acting as a drain for the fluid produced behind the iris in the ciliary body.
Most patients experience no symptoms of glaucoma making it very difficult to know if they have the disease at all. In the later stages of glaucoma patients may notice:
Glaucoma is usually discovered on a routine eye exam. Patients are urged to undergo an eye exam particularly if any family members have been affected by the disease. There are several different tests utilized in detecting glaucoma including:
When glaucoma is diagnosed it may be initially treated with medications or with laser procedures depending on what your surgeon decides. The types of laser include:
These laser procedures are usually performed in under 5 minutes in an outpatient setting. Patients have reported a pressure-like or stinging sensation during the procedure, but overall they are considered painless. Following the procedure patients may experience blurring of their vision and irritation.
If you have glaucoma and visually-impairing cataracts your surgeon may decide to utilize techniques to lower the intraocular pressure at the time of cataract surgery. These techniques are known as Minimally Invasive Glaucoma Surgeries. For more advanced cases of glaucoma may require invasive forms of surgery such as a trabeculectomy or glaucoma tube shunt. Talk to your doctor regarding your options.