Glaucoma refers to a group of eye conditions that can damage the optic nerve. It is one of the leading causes of blindness in American adults. Glaucoma is typically associated with an increase in intraocular pressure (IOP), or pressure inside of the eye. Although the disease cannot be cured, surgical and non-surgical treatment can preserve and protect your vision. Our doctors specialize in a range of glaucoma treatment options, and can decide which is best for you depending on your unique case.
Understanding Your Treatment Options
Although vision lost because of glaucoma cannot be restored, early intervention can effectively slow further vision loss and damage to the optic nerve. The treatment your doctor recommends will depend on the type and severity of your glaucoma.
The most common form of the disease, open-angle glaucoma, is typically treated with eye drops that help lower pressure inside the eye. Oral medications may also be prescribed in combination with medicated eye drops. Medications can restore normal fluid drainage in the eyes, and reduce the amount of fluid produced. Both eye drops and oral medication must be taken continuously, and have been found to be effective in protecting the optic nerve. Minimally invasive surgical options, including iStent® and trabectome surgery, are making glaucoma treatment even safer and more effective.
For closed-angle glaucoma, which develops rapidly, more invasive treatment may be needed to stabilize intraocular pressure. Laser surgery can open the canals that allow the fluid to drain properly. This procedure, known as laser peripheral iridotomy, is extremely precise and requires little recovery time.
Another surgical option is valve implantation. During valve implantation, a special tube is placed in the eye allowing fluid to drain.
The success of your treatment will largely depend on the stage of your glaucoma at the time of diagnosis, how soon it was addressed, and the experience of your doctor. Our doctors prefer conservative treatment, and will always choose the least invasive method that will provide the greatest benefit to your ocular health. Non-surgical glaucoma treatment works best for patients who are diagnosed in the earliest stages. Only severe cases of glaucoma are typically treated with surgery, and success rates are as high as 90%.
What You Can Do
Glaucoma cannot be cured, but prompt treatment can preserve your vision. If you have a family history of the disease, medical conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure, or if you are African American, you may be at a higher risk of developing glaucoma, and it is extremely important that you undergo regular eye exams. If you have already been diagnosed, our doctors can properly monitor your condition and determine which type of treatment is best to protect your eyesight.