Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness in the USA. It is called the “Sneak-thief” of sight because there are few if any symptoms. Open-angle glaucoma causes progressive loss of peripheral vision, and without an eye exam, people do not notice they have lost vision until the damage is severe. Narrow angle glaucoma will have a headache associated with it as the structures of the eye are pressing the drainage system closed. This is typically frequent evening headaches or headaches upon waking. Glaucoma is caused by a build-up of fluid inside the eye which causes pressure on the optic nerve. Pressure on a nerve over-time causes irreversible damage, which in the eye, leads to loss of vision.
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With regular eye exams, vision-loss can be slowed and prevented in most cases. There are many treatment options today beyond just the drops to lower the pressure inside the eye in chronic open angle glaucoma. In our surgery center we offer many different procedures to help lower fluid-build up and related eye pressure elevation. Depending on your diagnosis and your options with your eye doctor, you may be a candidate for one of the following methods.
- SLT (Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty)- laser procedure designed to stimulate outflow of fluids. One eye is treated first, if pressures respond well, the other eye will be treated next visit.
- ECP (Endoscopic Cyclophotocoagulation)
- Trabeculectomy- surgical opening of the sclera, sturdy structure of the eye “wall” with a skin flap over it acting as a “trap-door” for fluid release.
- Trabeculoplasty-see SLT
- istent-Stent placed in the trabecular meshwork during cataract surgery to increase outflow of fluid for patients with mild to moderate open angle glaucoma
- Reservoir shunts-
Narrow Angle Glaucoma can cause rapid vision loss in one eye with an attack of glaucoma. Typically, the pressure build will occur mildly at first indicated with the above- mentioned headaches, and if caught before an acute attack, easily prevented with a laser treatment.
- Peripheral Iridectomy is using an argon or Yag Laser to create an opening in the iris muscle to allow fluid to flow between the posterior and anterior chambers. The iris pushing into the cornea and closing off the drainage in the angle between the two structures will be prevented with the secondary drainage area.
- Cataract surgery will also open the angle and prevent a narrow angle glaucoma attack. Your doctor will discuss if this is the next best step for you.