The Glaucoma Center at Roberts Eyecare Associates is dedicated to the early identification and treatment of glaucoma. Glaucoma is a disease of the eye associated with increased internal pressure resulting in damage to the optic nerve and irreversible loss of vision. The disease generally evolves gradually, the result of aging or medications, but can rapidly develop from an eye injury or infection.
Glaucoma is the second leading cause of adult blindness. People with cardiovascular disease, diabetes or certain ancestries are most susceptible to damage from glaucoma. Because there are no symptoms in the early stages of glaucoma and there is significant risk of permanent loss of sight, early detection and treatment is important. In severe cases, where there is severe pain, nausea, blurred vision and seeing rainbow colored halos around lights, immediate medical attention is required.
What Causes Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a condition where the fluid pressure within the eye increases beyond a level where it damages the optic nerve. The eye produces a clear fluid, aqueous humor, that flows between the lens and cornea. Since there are no blood vessels in this portion of the eye, the fluid serves to provide nutrients a nd eliminate waste from this area. The fluid circulates through the eye and drains out through a complex drainage system where it can return to the bloodstream.
In glaucoma, the fluid production and drainage become out of balance resulting in increased pressure within the eye. Medications and procedures are used to improve the drainage, reduce the production of fluid or both. After a through eye examination the doctor will be better able to prescribe a course of action.
o Age (60 years and older).
o Family history.
o Past eye injuries.
o African or Spanish ancestry.
o Elevated eye pressure.
o Thin corneal thickness.
o Hypertension and diabetes.
o High degree of myopia (near sightedness).
o Side effect of certain medications for the treatment of asthma, arthritus or sinusitus that contain steroids.
o Migraine headaches.
Treatment of Glaucoma:
Treatment starts with a complete medical examination including evidence of optic nerve damage, loss of visual field, and other risk factors. Glaucoma is generally managed through the administration of one or more medications consisting of eye drops and/or oral prescriptions. The choice of therapies is based on achieving the greatest benefit at the lowest risk.
The following are potential treatment options:
Medications: Eye drops are the most frequent medication employed to control glaucoma. Being a chronic disorder, continued use is required.
Surgery: For patients with allergic reactions or experiencing side effects from medications, surgery may be an option. This technique is useful to improve fluid drainage. Both laser surgery and surgery using traditional instruments are options.
Experimental: Drug-dispensing contact lenses are under development dispensing medications in controlled doses. Also, there are other medications under investigation that were originally developed for other conditions, Alzheimer's and Multiple Sclerosis, that are showing some promise. These medications are in the early investigative stages and maybe several years away.
Water: Studies have found that drinking large amounts of water in a short period of time can elevate the internal eye pressure. To be safe, consuming smaller amounts of fluid over the course of the day is recommended.
Alternative Medicine: There are no conclusive studies linking specific diets with glaucoma. A general well balanced diet combined with exercise is encouraged for overall well being. Medical marijuana has not been proven to safely reduce the pressure within the eye.
Glaucoma is a chronic disorder requiring monitoring through periodic follow-up testing. Glaucoma that has been controlled may become worse over time and require a change in medication, additional medications, or surgery to reduce vision loss. Because the resulting damage is irreversible, early detection and prevention are important.
COME SEE US
If you or one of your loved ones suffers from glaucoma, our doctors may be able to help. You can count on our clinical staff to discuss possible treatment options to keep your eyes healthy and comfortable. Please contact us to setup an appointment with one of our doctors.