How is Glaucoma treated?
Glaucoma is a common eye condition that occurs when the optic nerve, which connects the eye to the brain, becomes damaged by a gradual or sudden accumulation of intraocular pressure. This normally happens because fluid that is naturally present in the eye isn’t draining properly, causing pressure to build. If treatment isn’t sought promptly, patients with glaucoma could lose their vision.
Types of glaucoma
Many people think that glaucoma is just one condition. However, within glaucoma there are two different types that can affect patients. These are known as open angle and closed angle glaucoma.
Open angle glaucoma is the most commonly diagnosed type of glaucoma. It develops slowly over a number of years with the pressure inside your eye gradually building due to the drainage channels become blocked over time.
Closed angle glaucoma occurs very suddenly and sees a dramatic rise in your intraocular pressure. It happens when the drainage channels block quickly and will trigger symptoms virtually immediately.
Symptoms of glaucoma
As you might expect, the symptoms of open angle glaucoma develop slowly, and patients often don’t realize that they have the condition until a significant amount of their vision has been affected. Peripheral (side) vision usually begins to become blurry and fade and eventually vision loss will move towards the center of your vision.
In the case of closed angle glaucoma, symptoms will appear suddenly and may include:
Severe eye pain
Headaches on the same side as the affected eye
Blurred or foggy vision
Halos around lights
How is glaucoma treated?
Your glaucoma treatment will be based primarily on the type of glaucoma that you have been diagnosed with. This is because one type can be treated promptly but without the need for urgency while the other is classed as a medical emergency.
Treatment for open angle glaucoma
If you have been diagnosed with open angle glaucoma, there are several different treatments that may be recommended for you. Initially you will probably be offered a course of eye drops which are designed to lower the pressure in your eyes. There are several different types of eye drop available and all are considered very effective.
If eye drops are not suitable for you, or you don’t have the necessary success with them, your eye doctor may refer you for laser treatment to open up any blocked drainage tubes or to target the tissue responsible for liquid production, so it is reduced, and pressure decreases.
Finally, surgery may be recommended in rare cases where eye drops and laser technology have proven to be unsuccessful. This involves removing part of the drainage tubes from the eye so that the excess fluid can drain more easily than before.
Treatment for closed angle glaucoma
Closed angle glaucoma is classed as a medical emergency and requires immediate treatment so that further irreversible damage to your eye doesn’t occur. This means that excess fluid needs to be drained so that the intraocular pressure within your eye is reduced, eliminating pressure on the optic nerve that is damaging your eyesight and causing you pain. One of the best ways to do this is through laser treatment. Lasers can be used to alleviate intraocular pressure in several ways. Firstly, the laser can be used to perforate the iris or open up the drainage tubes so that the fluid inside your eye can drain away. Alternatively, laser technology can be used to destroy some of the tissue in your eye responsible for producing the liquid. This stops further production and enables pressure in the eye to be reduced.
If you are concerned that you may be suffering from glaucoma, arrange an appointment with our experienced and dedicated optical care team today by calling our offices in White Plains, NY today.
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