Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a disease that affects the optic nerve. In the past, glaucoma has been associated with increased pressure in the eye, which is certainly true, however, some people still suffer from glaucoma despite having normal eye pressure. Glaucoma has little to no symptoms, which makes early detention key to treatment. If left untreated, glaucoma leads to permanent vision loss.

Initially vision is lost in the periphery, but eventually central vision loss also occurs. Glaucoma can occur at any age, but it usually presents after 60 years of age. Unfortunately, there is no cure for glaucoma. However, with early detection, glaucoma can be managed well with medications or surgery. At CRA, we are dedicated to helping you preserve your vision if you suffer from glaucoma.

Glaucoma Symptoms

Most people who have glaucoma have no symptoms until the vision loss has become severe.However, the damage caused by glaucoma is permanent and cannot be fixed. Therefore, it is crucial that the disease is diagnosed early, as it can be managed with medications and/or surgery, helping to slow down or prevent, vision loss.

Glaucoma Diagnosis

Most cases of glaucoma can be easily diagnosed with a comprehensive eye exam. Only your eye doctor is able to correctly diagnose you with glaucoma. There are several types of glaucoma, but most people suffer from Primary Open Angle Glaucoma. At CRA we have all the technology needed to detect and diagnose glaucoma at its earlier stages. Your CRA doctor will perform an extensive examination in order to correctly reach a diagnosis of glaucoma.

Glaucoma Risks

  • Glaucoma occurs at any age, however, people over 60 years of age are at higher risk for glaucoma.
  • Having Diabetes Type 2
  • African Americans and Latinos have higher rates of open angle glaucoma
  • People of Asian descent have a higher risk of developing narrow angle glaucoma
  • People of Japanese descent are at higher risk of developing normal tension glaucoma
  • Being very nearsighted (myopic) increases your risk of developing glaucoma.
  • Having a close relative with glaucoma increases your risk of developing glaucoma

Treatment of Glaucoma

Even though there is no cure for glaucoma, there are medical, LASER and surgical treatments that are effective and can control the disease.

  • Eye drops (medication) is usually the first line of treatment for glaucoma
  • LASER treatments are available
  • Minimally Invasive Glaucoma Surgery (MIGS) is a new treatment modality that is usually applied at the time of cataract surgery.

LASER treatments for Glaucoma

LASER can be used to treat various types of glaucoma, but primarily they are used to treat Primary Open Angle Glaucoma. Two types of laser treatments are available
Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT) and Argon Laser Trabeculoplasty (ALT). The laser therapy is aimed at the drainage tissue in the eye to increase flow of aqueous fluid through the trabecular meshwork and decrease the pressure in the eye. SLT uses a lower power of laser and may be repeated if needed, while ALT is typically only performed once. Both procedures have an extremely low rate of complication. SLT and ALT are outpatient procedures performed with local anesthetic and patients are generally able to resume regular activities the day after surgery.

Microinvasive Glaucoma Surgery

Minimally invasive glaucoma surgery is commonly referred to as MIGS. This type of procedure utilizes microscopic equipment and tiny incisions to lower eye pressure and prevent the progression of glaucoma with minimal complications.

  • Trabecular Micro-Bypass Surgery using iStent – iStent is an innovative surgery that is performed in conjunction with cataract surgery, making it a great option for patients who are affected by both cataracts and glaucoma. In this procedure, the surgeon makes a tiny incision in the tissue near the base of the cornea that is responsible for draining fluid from the eye, this area is called the trabecular meshwork. The iStent is a tiny valve that is inserted to increase the eye’s ability to drain fluid. The iStent device is 20,000 times smaller than a contact lens and is the smallest device approved by the FDA. This procedure is best suited for patients with mild to moderate open angle glaucoma.
  • Hydrus™ Microstent – The Hydrus Microstent is designed to control eye pressure and reduce dependence on medications to manage glaucoma. This tiny device is the size of an eyelash and is inserted during cataract surgery. Hydrus is placed in Schlemm’s canal, which is part of your eye’s natural drainage system. Once in place it relieves pressure by encouraging excess fluid toward the drainage system and expanding the pathway for drainage. Studies show that 77% of Hydrus patients saw a reduction in eye pressure and 78% were able to eliminate eye drops1.