What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a disease in which the pressure inside the eye (not related to blood pressure) causes permanent, irreversible damage to the optic nerve. If adequate control of this pressure is not maintained, glaucoma gradually leads to complete blindness. Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness in this country.
Clarity of vision is not affected by the disease. Glaucoma causes damage to our FIELD of vision (central vision and side vision). Visual loss begins in the periphery, where we are not aware of early changes. In most cases, the condition is painless. As a result, many cases go undetected until well into the disease process, unless suspected during a routine eye exam.
Lowering eye pressure has been proven to slow or halt progression of the disease. Your doctor will determine an eye pressure target based on the initial eye pressure and the amount of damage present.
Eye drops are typically used as a first approach to lower eye pressure. A healthy pressure is achieved when fluid production and drainage are balanced in the eye. Some drops decrease the amount of fluid that the eye produces while other drops improve drainage inside the eye.
When eye drops do not lower the eye pressure enough, laser trabeculoplasty can be used to remodel the drain of the eye, resulting in lower eye pressure. A trabeculectomy procedure, the standard of care for progressive glaucoma, is an outpatient surgery that takes less than twenty minutes to perform.
If both eye drops and laser trabeculoplasty are not effective enough in lowering eye pressure, glaucoma surgery is usually recommended. Microincisional techniques, including tiny titanium stents have revolutionized glaucoma surgery.
Our physicians participate in studies for FDA approval of new minimally invasive glaucoma procedures.