Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of vision loss in the world and a fairly common ocular condition. Many people who are found to have glaucoma become panicked that they may experience total blindness. While any vision loss already experienced due to glaucoma cannot be reversed, with prompt diagnosis and treatment, it is possible to prevent further impairment to your eyesight.
We are pleased to be able to offer patients with glaucoma all the support that they need to prevent their eyesight from deteriorating. Here is what you need to know about glaucoma and the medical and surgical treatments we can provide at our offices in Jacksonville, FL.
Glaucoma is an ocular condition that causes damage to your optic nerve, which is the main pathway of messages between your retina and your brain and enables us to determine what we can see. In most instances, glaucoma is attributed to an accumulation of pressure inside the eye, known as intraocular pressure or IOP. It is not always known exactly what causes IOP to rise, but it is often attributed to a blockage in the channels used to allow tear film, called aqueous humor, to drain.
There are certain risk factors associated with the condition. They include having parents or grandparents who have had glaucoma, smoking, obesity and being over the age of 40. Other potential causes of glaucoma include a blunt or sharp force trauma to the eye, a chemical burn that affects the eyes or a severe eye infection. In most instances, glaucoma will affect both eyes at the same time, but the severity in each may vary.
There are two types of glaucoma. Open-angle glaucoma is the most common and it develops very gradually over a number of years. In many cases, symptoms are easily overlooked until the condition has developed significantly. Closed-angle glaucoma is much rare and comes on abruptly. If urgent treatment is not sought, it can cause sudden, permanent vision loss.
If you are diagnosed with glaucoma, our team will immediately speak to you about your options regarding treatment. This should not be delayed as the sooner treatment begins, the less of an effect glaucoma will have on your vision.
Medicines almost always form the first line of treatment for glaucoma and in some cases, patients will find that their glaucoma can be successfully managed using regularly-taken medications. These include:
There are several different types of eye drops for glaucoma, all of which are designed to reduce intraocular pressure. Provided they are used as directed, they will help to maintain lower eye pressure which in turn will reduce your risk of vision loss.
Some types of glaucoma medication are administered in pill form. These include Carbonic Anhydrase Inhibitors (CAIs) which decrease the production of intraocular fluid to reduce eye pressure.
Laser technology has altered the way in which many medical and ocular procedures are performed, including glaucoma surgery. If topical or oral medications are not helping manage your glaucoma, you may be referred for laser treatment. This involves a high-energy laser being focused onto a specific part of your eye to prevent the accumulation of fluid and keep the intraocular pressure low. It can do this by either creating holes in your iris so that the fluid drains more effectively or by destroying some of the tissue responsible for tear film production.
Laser surgery is very effective and non-invasive, meaning a low risk of complications and virtually no downtime.
Conventional surgery for glaucoma is usually only recommended where other treatments have failed to provide sufficient results in managing the condition. Glaucoma surgery usually involves a procedure called a trabeculectomy during which some of the drainage tube of the eye is removed to enable fluid to drain more easily, preventing intraocular pressure from building. There are several other surgical options that may be used if a trabeculectomy if not a viable option for you.
If you are concerned about the possibility of glaucoma and would like to be assessed by our experienced ophthalmologist, Dr. Hazem Samy, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our offices in Jacksonville, FL today by calling (904) 601-1300.