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Glaucoma

Glaucoma Surgery: What is glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a group of diseases that can damage the eye's optic nerve and result in vision loss and blindness. Glaucoma occurs when the normal fluid pressure inside the eyes slowly rises. However, with early treatment, you can often protect your eyes against serious vision loss.

What is the optic nerve?

The optic nerve is a bundle of more than 1 million nerve fibers. It connects the retina to the brain. (See diagram below.) The retina is the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye. A healthy optic nerve is necessary for good vision, glaucoma damages the optic nerve.

What are some other forms of glaucoma?

Open-angle glaucoma is the most common form. Some people have other types of the disease. Low-tension or normal-tension glaucoma; optic nerve damage and narrowed side vision occur in people with normal eye pressure, lowering eye pressure through medicines slows the disease. Angle-closure glaucoma; the fluid at the front of the eye cannot reach the angle and leave the eye. The angle gets blocked by part of the iris. People with this type of glaucoma have a sudden increase in eye pressure. Symptoms include severe pain and nausea, as well as redness of the eye and blurred vision. If you have these symptoms, you need to seek treatment immediately. This is a medical emergency. Neovascular glaucoma; a severe form linked to diabetes.

What are the symptoms of glaucoma?

At first, there are no symptoms. Left untreated, glaucoma can cause blindness.

How is glaucoma detected?

Glaucoma is detected through a comprehensive eye exam that includes: Visual acuity testing; the eye chart test measures how well you see at various distances. A tonometer measures pressure inside the eye to detect glaucoma. Visual field test measures your side (peripheral) vision. It helps your doctor tell if you have lost side vision, a sign of glaucoma. Dilated eye exam; drops are placed in your eyes to widen, or dilate, the pupils. Your doctor uses a special magnifying lens to examine your retina and optic nerve for signs of damage and other eye problems. Pachymetry; a numbing drop is applied to your eye. Your doctor uses an ultrasonic wave instrument to measure the thickness of your cornea. Optical Coherence Tomography( OCT ); this is a scanning laser we use at North Central Eye to give us a zoom image of your optic nerve. With this image we can better detect and monitor glaucoma.

Can glaucoma be treated?

Yes. Immediate treatment for early stage, open-angle glaucoma can delay progression of the disease. Glaucoma treatments include medicines, laser trabeculoplasty, conventional surgery, or a combination of any of these. While these treatments may save remaining vision, they do not improve sight already lost from glaucoma. That's why early diagnosis is very important.

SLT laser treatment is the latest improvement for office treatment of glaucoma. North Central Eye is proud to partner with FTMC to provide this cutting-edge therapy to our patients.

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