Glaucoma is a condition of the eye where the natural drainage system is not working correctly. Since the drainage system is defective, it causes an increase in pressure in the eye for most types of glaucoma.
Often, there are no noticeable symptoms other than a gradual loss of vision. Many people think their eyesight is deteriorating due to aging or changes in their existing eyeglass or contact prescription.
One of the biggest concerns with glaucoma is the effects cannot be reversed. The only way to ensure early glaucoma detection is with annual vision exams that check for glaucoma. The sooner glaucoma is detected, the less vision loss is experienced. If left untreated, eventually it can lead to blindness.
1. Angle-Closure/Closed-Angel/Narrow-Angle Glaucoma
This type of glaucoma is commonly known as angle-closure glaucoma, but it can also be called closed-angle glaucoma or narrow-angle glaucoma. It is characterized by a restricting of the natural drains in the eye, where they begin to narrow and close. This prevents normal drainage processes and causes pressure in the eye to increase.
2. Open-Angle/Primary/Chronic Glaucoma
This type of glaucoma is the most common one. It occurs when the eyes contain too much fluid because the natural drains in the eye are blocked. Fluid overproduction continues to occur and pressure in the eye increases.
Often, the drainage meshwork appears normal yet there is excess fluid. Due to its symptoms and the gradual blocking of natural drains, it can go undetected. This type of glaucoma can also be called primary glaucoma or chronic glaucoma.
3. Normal Pressure/Normal-Tension/Low-Tension Glaucoma
With normal pressure glaucoma, the pressure in the eye remains normal even though there are problems with the natural drains of the eyes. Vision loss still occurs due to damage to the optic nerve. Normal pressure glaucoma can also be called normal-tension glaucoma or low-tension glaucoma.
Glaucoma Treatment Options
There are two general glaucoma treatment options: prescription eye drops and laser eye surgery. Eye drops can be effective at helping to reduce the pressure in the eye so that vision loss is prevented. However, early glaucoma detection is necessary. Otherwise, the eye drops may not be effective or the most appropriate treatment.
There are several different glaucoma eye surgery options. One of the safest and remarkably effective laser surgeries is called Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT). This procedure is pain-free and only takes about 10 minutes to complete.
SLT can be used to help reduce pressure in the eye. It can be a stand-alone treatment or used in conjunction with eye drop treatment based on the individual’s glaucoma diagnosis.
Another glaucoma eye surgery option is called tube shunt. In this procedure, a small surgical device is inserted into the eye to help restore fluid drainage in the eye. A third surgical option is called a trabeculectomy, which is a very detailed and intricate procedure used to create new drains in the eye.
A consultation with a laser eye surgeon will help determine which glaucoma treatment options are most appropriate for you. To schedule a telehealth or in-office consultation or to be screened for glaucoma in our office, please feel free to contact ADV Vision Centers at (805) 987-5300 today!