Glaucoma and Treatment Options

Monday, July 24th, 2017

More than 4 million Americans are affected by glaucoma, an eye disease that gradually leads to loss of vision. There are no major symptoms to warn you of the increase in eye pressure caused by the eye’s drainage canals becoming clogged over time. Since there are few warning signs before damage occurs, it is important to see your eye doctor for regular eye examinations. Once glaucoma is diagnosed there are several treatments to help prevent further damage and vision loss.

Who is at risk for Glaucoma?

There are several factors that affect your risk of having glaucoma including, age (over 60), immediate family members with a history of glaucoma, some ethnicities (African Americans are 6-8 times more likely to have glaucoma than Caucasian populations) and Asians have a higher risk of angle-closure glaucoma, eye injuries and high myopia.

How is Glaucoma treated?

There is no cure for glaucoma and vision loss cannot be regained. However, medications and surgical procedures can help prevent further progression of the disease.  When eye drops alone are no longer effective in reducing the pressure in the eye, laser or surgical procedures may be used. Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty or SLT and Argon Laser Trabeculoplasty (ALT) are in-office laser procedures that help improve the drainage system in the eye. A more invasive surgical filtering procedure called Trabeculectomy is performed when medications and laser are not sufficient to control eye pressure.

How does Minimally Invasive Glaucoma Surgery (MIGS) treat Glaucoma?

MIGS is a procedure added to cataract surgery to lower the pressure in the eye due to glaucoma.  A miniature stent device, only 1mm long, is placed in the primary blockage site to allow fluid to flow through the natural pathway and lower eye pressure. Patients with mild to moderate glaucoma, currently using 1 – 3 drops to control glaucoma, can potentially reduce or eliminate drops following the MIGS procedure.

“Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness in the world, behind only cataracts,” says Dr. Julie Chung, a Glaucoma Specialist at Advanced Vision Care. “We are pleased to give patients access to technologies that can help treat this disease.”

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