Glaucoma Detection and Treatment
Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness for people over the age of 60. Glaucoma is an eye condition that causes damage to the optic nerve, the health of which is vital for good vision. The damage is often caused by abnormally high pressure in the eye. Peripheral vision is lost first. Glaucoma can occur at any age but is most common in older adults. The majority of people with glaucoma will not experience symptoms until the condition is at an advanced stage and vision lost from glaucoma can unfortunately not be recovered. Therefore, regular eye examinations which include screening for glaucoma are of utmost importance.
The physicians at Outlook Eyecare use state of the art equipment for glaucoma detection and treatment. Dr. Coleman, our fellowship trained glaucoma specialist, performs glaucoma laser including Yag laser peripheral iridotomy and SLT/MLT. She also performs glaucoma surgery including the most up to date minimally invasive procedures such as istent.
Glaucoma isn’t a single eye disease, but a group of eye diseases in which vision loss is caused by damage to the optic nerve – the conduit that carries visual images to the brain. Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness in the United States behind cataracts, and there are often no warning signs.
Adult glaucoma falls into two categories: primary open-angle glaucoma, and angle-closure glaucoma. These are marked by an increase of intraocular pressure, or pressure inside the eye due to fluid buildup. In primary open-angle glaucoma – the most common form – fluid accumulates in the inner eye due to a gradual restriction of the eye’s drainage canals. In angle-closure glaucoma, or acute glaucoma, pressure increases rapidly due to a sudden blockage of the drainage canal. Patients who experience angle closure glaucoma will most likely sustain permanent visual loss and require surgery. A simple laser procedure can be done in the office to prevent angle closure in patients that are at risk.
When the intraocular pressure is normal but optic nerve damage is present, this is called normal tension glaucoma. Secondary glaucoma describes the condition in which another disease causes or contributes to increased eye pressure, resulting in optic nerve damage and vision loss. Pediatric glaucoma can either be congenital or can present itself at any time during childhood.
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Primary open-angle glaucoma, the most common form of the disease, is often present without symptoms. This is why glaucoma testing is such an important part of routine eye care. Typically, patients experience a gradual loss of peripheral vision in both eyes. In its advanced stages, glaucoma can cause tunnel vision and ultimately blindness.
Acute or angle-closure glaucoma is typically accompanied by eye pain, nausea, sudden visual disturbance, eye redness, and blurred vision.
Depending on the type of glaucoma, your ophthalmologist may prescribe eye dropos to help reduce intraocular pressure and prevent damage to the optic nerve. With early detection, these eye drops can be very effective in preserving your vision.
Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT) is an innovative laser procedure that is very effective in lowering intraocular pressure. The laser selectively targets melanin cells in the trabeculer meshwork (drainage system) which causes the meshwork to drain fluid more effectively. Because the laser only targets specific cells it is very safe and can be performed repeatedly. Dr. Coleman is one of an elite group of ophthalmic surgeons specializing in this approach to glaucoma surgery in New Jersey.
LPI is a laser procedure done in the office to prevent angle closure glaucoma in those who are at risk. A small laser hole is put in the iris to redirect fluid flow in the eye and open up a partially or fully blocked trabecular meshwork (drainage system).
When medication and laser procedures are not sufficient to manage glaucoma, surgery may be performed. Surgery can lower the pressure inside the eye, and although vision that has already been lost cannot be restored, a lower pressure can prevent further visual loss from occurring. Using a patient’s own tissue or one of various devices, the goal of surgery is to direct fluid outside of the eye to lower the intraocular pressure.
Glaucoma testing is part of the routine eyecare that we offer patients from Monroe Township, Princeton, and surrounding communities at our New Jersey locations. We use the latest technology for glaucoma detection and treatment to give our patients a better chance of preserving their eye health and their vision.
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