Glaucoma is a chronic sight-threatening disease that often progresses without any symptoms. Vision loss caused by glaucoma is unfortunately irreversible. The good news is that a thorough eye examination by an eye doctor can lead to early diagnosis and treatment. With this intervention, glaucoma can be controlled and the vision loss halted.
There are different types of glaucoma including open angle glaucoma and narrow angle glaucoma. The common factor in all types of glaucoma is damage to the one optic nerve in the back of each of our eyes. This optic nerve acts like a highway that transports all of the vision information from your eyes to the back of your brain; here it is processed into the images we use to interact with the world. Studies have shown that reducing eye pressure is the most effect treatment to control glaucoma. This eye pressure is different from your blood pressure, and it is measured with a very precise instrument during every eye examination.
At Lucent Vision, we use all of the latest technology to diagnose and treat glaucoma. But more importantly, we understand that the prospect of vision loss can cause a great deal of stress and anxiety. That’s why we strive to educate and treat patients with compassion. A strong relationship between patient and doctor is a powerful tool to prevent vision loss from glaucoma.
You may be at an increased risk of glaucoma if you have:
- Age over 55
- A family history of glaucoma in your mother, father, brother, sister, or children
- African American or Hispanic ancestry
- A previous history of steroid usage (for example prednisone for asthma treatment)
- Elevated eye pressures (something that can be measured during an eye examination)
If you have any of these risk factors, then it is important to have a comprehensive eye examination to determine if you need surveillance and treatment for glaucoma.
Glaucoma management is aimed at lowering eye pressure. There is typically a step-wise approach to treatment that includes eye drops, laser treatment, and surgery. Eye drops are usually the first treatment choice to control eye pressure. Most drug plans have some type of coverage for these medications.
If eye drops are not successful, the next step is usually a glaucoma laser treatment. Laser treatment of glaucoma (also known as SLT) is safe, effective, repeatable, and essentially painless. Laser treatment can provide long lasting pressure reduction, and it is performed at an outpatient surgery center. Most insurances provide coverage for SLT treatment when it is deemed medically necessary by your eye doctor.
Dr. Pathak is certified and trained in performing an exciting new surgical procedure called the iStent (pictured below) in patients who have both cataracts and glaucoma. During this procedure, not only is a cataract removed, but also a microscopic stent is placed into the drainage system of the eye. This stent serves to lower the pressure inside of the eye. Patients who undergo this procedure have improved vision and a reduced dependence on medicated eye drops.