Glaucoma is a word that has been used by many people to mean many different things. As a consequence, there is a great deal of confusion over what it actually is. In its simplest definition, glaucoma is a disease in which increased pressure causes damage to the optic nerve, leading to progressive, irreversible vision loss. Although it is the second leading cause of blindness, several glaucoma treatments can be performed in Louisville to diminish the chances of complete vision loss.
There are several different kinds of glaucoma, but most of them can be placed into two categories: Open Angle Glaucoma and Narrow Angle Glaucoma. While there are multiple subtypes for each of these categories, the treatments for various open angle glaucomas tend to be similar and the treatments for various angle closure glaucomas tend to be similar. With ninety percent of glaucoma patients having open angle glaucoma, it is by far the most common form.
When a person has a form of open angle glaucoma, the fluid responsible for giving the eye its nourishment does not drain fast enough due to a problem in the drainage canal. When this happens, the excess fluid pressure pushes against the delicate optic nerve that connects the eye to the brain. If the pressure remains too high for too long, irreversible vision loss can occur.
In forms of narrow angle glaucoma, pressure usually goes up very quickly. This happens when the drainage canals get blocked or covered over. The iris gets pushed against the lens of the eye, shutting off the drainage angle. This results in pressure increasing suddenly, usually in one eye. This type of glaucoma typically constitutes an emergency, and it could cause blindness if not treated promptly.
It is estimated that over two million Americans have some type of glaucoma and half of them do not know it. In the early stages, there is no pain or outward side of trouble. Routine eye exams are essential to discover glaucoma early and begin treatment before significant vision loss has occurred. Call the Taustine Eye Center today to make an appointment with our glaucoma specialist.
Glaucoma is a chronic disease, which means you will have it for the rest of your life. When you’re first diagnosed, it’s only natural that you will have many questions. While we will gladly answer any questions you have during your exam, we want you to feel as comfortable and knowledgeable as possible. We’ve provided a list of Frequently Asked Questions about glaucoma, and invite you to contact us if you have any further questions.
Although glaucoma is not curable, it is controllable. Once you’ve been diagnosed you will be placed on treatment, most likely in the form of medicated eye drops. From here you will need to be monitored for evidence that the treatment may not be adequate, in which case a new treatment must be sought. If this happens, you may be placed on a different type of medication, or laser trabeculoplasty may be tried.
Laser trabeculoplasty involves shining a small spot of laser light repeatedly on the drainage channels of the eye. This glaucoma treatment in Louisville is nearly painless, takes only a few minutes, and is effective in 80 to 90 percent of people. Laser trabeculoplasty is usually used in patients where medications have been inadequate to lower pressure to a safe level, but there is some evidence that using laser therapy before trying medications may be reasonable in some people.
If medication and laser trabeculoplasty is not sufficient, a traditional glaucoma surgery may be necessary. While glaucoma surgery cannot reverse already lost vision, it does help lower pressure in the eye. During the surgery, a small drainage hole is created to allow the intraocular fluid to bypass the clogged drainage canals and flow out. This type of surgery can be done several times to reduce pressure without substantial risk.
Who will my doctor be?
Rather than being a practice of general ophthalmologists, each doctor at the Taustine Eye Center has an area of specialization. These specializations ensure that our patients receive the most up-to-date treatments from highly experienced and knowledgeable doctors.
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