Glaucoma is a disease process affecting the optic nerve. The optic nerve carries electrical signals from the eye to the brain. Most optic nerves have roughly 1.2 million individual nerve fibers. As these individual nerve fibers die, vision is gradually lost. This usually begins in the peripheral (side vision) where it is harder to detect. If not treated, eventually enough nerve fibers are lost, resulting in blindness.
Glaucoma used to be thought of as a disease of pressure inside the eye that was too high and caused damage to the nerve fibers inside the optic nerve. We now know that while the pressure is a risk factor, many people with glaucoma have normal eye pressures.
There are many risk factors for glaucoma, including:
- Age ( > 65 years old)
- Family history (first degree relatives – mother, father, brothers and sisters)
- African ancestry
- Past eye injuries or certain other diseases effecting the eye
- High eye pressure (> 25 mmHg)
- Thin cornea
Glaucoma does not have physical symptoms like pain or pressure in the eyes, but when the disease advances, vision loss becomes noticeable. People who have early or mild glaucoma may not notice it. Once vision loss occurs, it cannot be corrected. This is why it is important to have regular eye examinations with an eye doctor so glaucoma can be detected early and treated before symptoms develop and vision is lost.
The goal of glaucoma treatment is to reduce the pressure inside the eye. Treatment includes eye drops, oral medications, laser surgery, and incisional surgery. Eye drops are the first line of treatment for most patients, but if glaucoma cannot be controlled with eye drops, further treatment to prevent vision loss will be needed. At Ludwick Eye Center, we offer the most advanced glaucoma treatment available including incisional surgery and laser treatment such as:
- The Ex-PRESS Mini Glaucoma Shunt
- Tube Shunt Surgery
- iStent Trabecular Micro-Bypass
- Cyclophotocoagulation (CPC) MicroPulse
- Endoscopic Cyclophotocoagulation (ECP)
- Narrow Angle Glaucoma Treatment: Peripheral Iridotomy (PI)
- Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT)
After a comprehensive examination, our glaucoma specialist Dr. Scott Piette will work with you to formulate a personalized treatment plan to achieve the best results in the management and treatment of your glaucoma.