Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a slow progressive optic neuropathy that can gradually damage your optic nerve and lead to permanent blindness. The damage is more than often caused by increase pressure in the eye but it may not be the case always. It is a silent disease and with not enough warning symptoms or signs, risks getting diagnosed late in life. Treatments — including eyedrops, laser treatments and surgeries — can slow down vision loss and save your sight.

Glaucoma Diagnosis

It’s estimated that about 3 million Americans have glaucoma, but about half of them don’t even know it. One of the scariest things about glaucoma is that usually there are no symptoms in the early stages.  

The first notable symptom may be a loss of peripheral vision, but this is actually a late-stage, irreversible result of the disease. The first step in diagnosing glaucoma can be done by examining the optic nerve. Each optic nerve is made of more than one-million individual nerve fibers. The damage from glaucoma has a characteristic appearance that permits your ophthalmologist to recognize whether glaucoma is present.

Fundus Photography

Fundus photographs are performed to aid in following a patient with glaucoma. By photographing the optic nerve at a particular point in time, one can compare future examinations to the photographs taken previously. This comparison is invaluable in determining optic nerve progression and helps to titrate and manage treatment.

Gonioscopy

Gonioscopy is the use of a special lens called goniolens to view the anatomical angle formed between the eye’s cornea and iris. This can give an invaluable view to the type of glaucoma and help decide about treatment options.

Optic Nerve Fiber Analysis

As mentioned, each optic nerve is composed of over one-million individual nerve fibers. Optical coherence tomography (OCT) is the most popular technology used for optic nerve fiber analysis.

Visual Field Testing for Glaucoma

Loss of optic nerve axons in glaucoma eventually results in visual field defects, but the defects may not be evident until a considerable percentage of axons are lost. The most important tool used to assess optic nerve function is the visual field test. This test measures how well the optic nerve functions in carrying visual information to the brain.

Medical Treatment

Drops may be used in most cases as the initial treatment option for most glaucoma types. There are several different classes of drugs that function through different mechanisms. Some medications allow for faster drainage of the fluid within the eye, while other medications reduce the amount of fluid produced.

Laser Treatment

Laser surgery is used in the treatment of both, narrow angle as well as in open angle glaucoma. 

Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT)

SLT is an advanced type of laser treatment performed in open angle glaucoma performed to target very specific cells in the eye to achieve the improved drainage of fluid. All laser procedures are out-patient procedures performed in the clinic. These are usually associated with minimal pain and have no need for restricted activity after the laser. The LIGHT (laser In glaucoma and ocular hypertension) study suggests that laser therapy is an appropriate choice as the first treatment for newly diagnosed glaucoma or ocular hypertension. For many people, it can free them from having to use eye drops, which can have a positive impact on quality of life.

Laser Iridotomy

This procedure is done in the setting of anatomical narrow angles that are found to be occludable/ narrow to the threshold of being at risk for becoming suddenly blocked off. If this would to happen the pressure in the eye can increase suddenly causing acute angle closure which will cause high eye pressure, eye pain, headache and nausea. During this procedure, a tiny hole is made in the iris (colored part of the eye) which works to create an alternative route for fluid to prevent a sudden pressure spike in your eye.

Learn More about MIGS treatment

You’ve got questions? We’ve got answers..

What symptoms will I have to know if I have glaucoma? Most patients will be asymptomatic and may be diagnosed during one of their routine eye exams. Some may have a family history and that may bring them to an ophthalmologist. In acute angle closure form of glaucoma, one may have a sudden attack of eye pain, redness, decrease vision and headache prompting an emergent eye or emergency room visit.

Can glaucoma be reversed? Glaucoma damage is permanent—it cannot be reversed. But drops, laser and surgery help to stop further damage.

Will my glaucoma laser treatment be covered by insurance? Yes, your insurance should cover laser and other surgical treatment if needed.

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Phone: 407-243-8715, Phone: 407-261-4411
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Orlando, FL 32832

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