Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness in the United States, especially for older people. But the loss of sight from glaucoma is usually preventable if you get treatment early enough. Glaucoma is a disease of the optic nerve. The optic nerve carries the images we see to the brain. Many people know that glaucoma has something to do with the pressure inside the eye.
The higher the pressure inside the eye, the greater the chance of damage to the optic nerve. The optic nerve is like an electric cable containing a huge number of wires. Glaucoma can damage nerve fibers, causing blind spots to develop. Often, people don't notice these blind areas until much optic nerve damage has already occurred. If the entire nerve is destroyed, blindness results. Early detection and treatment by your ophthalmologist are the keys to preventing optic nerve damage and blindness from glaucoma. Contact our greater Boston location today, to schedule your consultation!
Clear liquid, called the aqueous humor, flows in and out of the eye. This liquid is not part of the tears on the outer surface of the eye. You can think of the flow of aqueous fluid as a sink with the faucet turned on all the time. If the drainpipe gets clogged, water collects in the sink and pressure builds up. If the drainage area of the eye - called the drainage angle - is blocked, the fluid pressure within the inner eye may increase, which can damage the optic nerve.
Regular eye examinations by your ophthalmologist are the best way to detect glaucoma. An ophthalmologist can detect and treat glaucoma. During a complete and painless examination, your ophthalmologist will:
Some of the tests may not be necessary for every person. You may need to repeat these tests on a regular basis to determine if glaucoma damage is increasing over time. To schedule your consultation, contact our greater Boston location today!
As a rule, damage caused by glaucoma cannot be reversed. Eye drops, pills and laser, and surgical operations are used to prevent or slow further damage from occurring. With any type of glaucoma, periodic examinations are very important to prevent vision loss. Because glaucoma can worsen without your being aware of it, your treatment may need to be changed over time.
Glaucoma is usually controlled with eye drops taken several times a day. These medications decrease eye pressure, either by slowing the production of aqueous fluid within the eye or by improving the flow leaving the drainage angle. For these medications to work, you must take them regularly and continuously. It is also important to tell all of your doctors about the eye medications you are using. Glaucoma medications can have side effects. You should notify your ophthalmologist immediately if you think you may be experiencing side effects.
Some eye drops may cause:
SLTLaser Surgery treatments may be effective for different types of glaucoma. The laser is usually used in one of two ways. In open-angle glaucoma, the drainage angle itself is treated. The laser is used to enlarge the drain (trabeculoplasty) to help control eye pressure. In angle-closure glaucoma, the laser creates a hole in the iris (iridotomy) to improve the flow of aqueous fluid to the drainage angle.
When operative surgery is needed to control glaucoma, your ophthalmologist uses miniature instruments to create a new drainage channel for the aqueous fluid to leave the eye. The new channel helps to lower the pressure. Though serious complications of modern glaucoma surgery are rare, they can occur, as with any surgery. Surgery is recommended only if your ophthalmologist feels that it is safer to operate than to allow optic nerve damage to continue. To see if you may be a candidate for glaucoma surgery, contact our greater Boston location!