About Our Glaucoma Services
What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a multi-factorial, complex eye disease with specific characteristics such as optic nerve damage and visual field loss. While people with glaucoma usually have abnormal high eye pressure, patients with normal range of eye pressures can also develop glaucoma. Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness in the United States. It is often called the “sneak thief of sight”. People with glaucoma often have have no pain or visual symptoms and in the early stages it is very hard to recognize. It affects between 2 and 3 million Americans each year. Many of those affected do not even know they have glaucoma.
It is important to have regular, routine eye exams so that glaucoma can be diagnosed and treated before long-term visual loss occurs. If it is detected early enough, the progress of the disease can be halted with eye drops and/or with surgical options. At Auker Eye Institute, we provide comprehensive eye examinations to monitor eye diseases such as glaucoma so proper treatment can be delivered and vision loss can be avoided. Contact us for a glaucoma evaluation here.
Glaucoma Risk Factors
- Family History
- Diabetes and related diabetes eye conditions
- High levels of myopia
- Previous trauma to the eye
- Steroid use
- Ethnic Background such as African Americans, Hispanics, and Asians
- People over age of 60
That is why early diagnosis and treatment of glaucoma is the key to preventing vision loss.
What are the signs and types of glaucoma
The symptoms of glaucoma can be different for each form but in most cases people are not aware until significant damage has been done. Most of this damage does occur to the optic nerve.
Open-angle glaucoma is also called primary or chronic glaucoma. This is the most common type of glaucoma in America.
- Is caused by the slow clogging of the drainage canals called trabecular meshwork, resulting in increased eye pressure
- Has a wide and open angle between the iris and cornea
- Develops slowly and is a lifelong condition
- Has symptoms and damage that are not noticed
- It causes gradual loss of peripheral vision
Angle-closure glaucoma is also called acute glaucoma or narrow-angle glaucoma. It is less common in the West than in Asia.
- Is caused by blocked drainage canals, resulting in a sudden rise in intraocular pressure
- Has a closed or narrow angle between the iris and cornea
- Develops very quickly
- Has symptoms and damage that are usually very noticeable
- Demands immediate medical attention
- The symptoms are: Decreased vision, cloudy vision, sudden, severe pain, usually in one eye, eye feels swollen, red eyes, halos around lights, nausea and vomiting.
A surgical laser procedure is also an option. This new technology has been clinically proven to help reduce intra-ocular pressure in many patients with glaucoma. This laser treatment can also help reduce the need and expense of medication in some patients.
Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT)
Although Dr. Auker may suggest laser surgery at any time, it is often performed after trying to control intra-ocular pressure with medicines. In many cases, you will need to keep taking glaucoma drugs even after laser surgery.
What to expect on the day of the procedure:
Your treatment will be performed in a specially equipped laser room. It does not require a surgery center. Once you have been checked in and settled comfortably, drops will be used to numb your eye; no injections or needles are used. When your eye is completely numb, an eyelid holder will be placed between your eyelids to keep you from blinking.
Dr. Auker will hold up a special lens to your eye as a high-peak power beam of green light is aimed at the lens and reflected onto the meshwork inside your eye. You may see flashes of bright green or red light. The laser will selectively target melanin-containing cells, resulting in increased fluid outflow. You will not feel any pain during the procedure. It takes 10-20 minutes.
Your eye pressure will be checked shortly after your procedure and drops may be prescribed to alleviate any soreness or swelling inside the eye. You should relax for the rest of the day. Follow-up visits are necessary to monitor your eye pressure. While it may take a few weeks to see the full pressure-lowering effect of this procedure, during which time you may have to continue taking your medication, many patients are eventually able to discontinue some of their medications. Most patients resume activities within a few days.
If you would like more information about this procedure, you can make an appointment or contact the office for additional information.