Glaucoma

Glaucoma is one of the leading worldwide causes of irreversible vision loss. Glaucoma involves progressive damage to the optic nerve. Fortunately, glaucoma is treatable. The key to preventing serious vision loss or blindness from glaucoma is early detection. An annual, fully dilated eye examination is recommended, especially individuals with a family history of Glaucoma.

There are two basic types of glaucoma. They include:
Open-angle glaucoma is the most common type that occurs in approximately 90 percent of those who suffer from the disease. This condition can develop gradually and be undetected for years, slowly damaging vision. In early stages of open-angle glaucoma, prescription eye drops are usually instilled on a daily basis to lower the eye’s pressure. Laser procedures such as Laser Trabeculoplasty or Argon Laser Trabeculoplasty can be performed initially to lower pressure or to further enhance medical therapy. Laser therapy for Glaucoma is an outpatient procedure that usually takes approximately 10 minutes and requires only minimal topical anesthesia. Laser therapy for Glaucoma has an almost 80 percent success rate in significantly reducing intra-ocular pressure for most patients.

Acute Angle-closure glaucoma, which is often much more rapid in onset, affects less than ten percent of glaucoma patients. Symptoms occur suddenly and are much more severe, but vision can be preserved with prompt, effective treatment. Angle-closure glaucoma or narrow-angle glaucoma is generally treated with a non-invasive laser to create a hole in the iris that opens the drainage channels of the eye.

How do I know if I am at risk for glaucoma?
There are several segments of the general population are at risk for glaucoma. They include advancing age, particularly individuals over the age of 60; African Americans or Hispanics; patients with a family history of Glaucoma; people who are extremely nearsighted or farsighted; and patients with diabetes.

Can glaucoma be prevented?
No. However, if glaucoma is detected early enough, the progress of the damage to the eye may be retarded or halted altogether.

Can glaucoma be treated?
Yes. With early detection and treatment, modern treatment options can usually prevent serious vision loss or blindness from glaucoma.

Does glaucoma testing take long?
Not at all. You can be screened for glaucoma in less than 30 minutes.

Does glaucoma testing hurt?
No. The tests are painless and leave no after-effects. Results of the tests will be discussed by the eye doctor most often during the same visit.

What if the screening shows that there is a problem?
At that point, further examination is recommended to confirm glaucoma. If the diagnosis of glaucoma is confirmed, the sooner we begin treatment, the better.

What are the treatment options for glaucoma?
There are a number of highly effective treatment options for glaucoma patients. Most patients are started on eye drops as the initial treatment. Laser therapy initially may be appropriate for certain forms of glaucoma and for certain patients. Finally, if medical or laser therapy fails to control the disease, surgical therapy may be necessary such as Trabeculoplasty. Fortunately, with early detection, most forms of glaucoma can be successfully treated and visual loss may be prevented. The physicians and surgeons at Norwich Ophthalmology Group have the latest in diagnostic and treatment options available for the earliest detection and most effective treatment such as The Ex-PRESS Mini Glaucoma Shunt.

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