WHAT IS GLAUCOMA?
The eye continually produces a watery substance called aqueous fluid that makes up the majority of the eye. The fluid continually exits the eye while new fluid is produced through a drainage point. The shape of your eyes is created through the perfect balance of pressure maintained by this constant cycle.
When the drainage system in your eye becomes impaired, you will experience an increase in pressure, this is called Glaucoma. The increased eye pressure results from the rapid increase in pressure and the decrease of drainage. Your vision can be damaged as a result of this pressure.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?
Initially, symptoms of Glaucoma include the loss of peripheral vision and can progress to complete blindness if it goes untreated.
Often, there are no symptoms, causing glaucoma to often be referred to as the”silent thief of sight” – a patient noticing nothing until permanent damage has been done. Ensuring healthy eyes can be achieved through routine eye exams.
WHAT ARE THE RISK FACTORS FOR GLAUCOMA?
Increasing with age, the risk of glaucoma can affect anyone. There are a few groups who are at a higher risk of contracting glaucoma:
- Genetic history of glaucoma
- History of hypertension
Having regular eye exams will help anyone maintain healthy eyes and be aware of developments of glaucoma and other visual problems. Contact the Williamson Eye Center today to schedule your next eye exam.
HOW IS GLAUCOMA DETECTED?
Glaucoma can be detected without dilation through a painless procedure using the Heidelberg Retina Tomograph II (HRT). This newly developed technology generates a comprehensive and precise analysis of the optic nerve. This allows for early detection and immediate action.
Measuring the intraocular pressure, testing your peripheral vision, inspecting optic nerve damage and inspection of the drainage angle of your eye will all be performed by your doctor during your evaluation for glaucoma.
TREATMENT FOR GLAUCOMA
A glaucoma diagnosis can be daunting, but luckily there are many treatments available that greatly decrease your chances of vision loss. Here at Williamson Eye Center, we are dedicated to providing our glaucoma patients with the best treatments available. That’s why we offer a range of minimally invasive glaucoma surgeries (MIGS).
What Is Minimally Invasive Glaucoma Surgery?
Standard glaucoma surgery, such as trabeculectomy and ExPRESS shunts, are considered major surgeries. These major surgeries are effective, but often come with a long list of potential complications and a longer recovery time. MIGS were developed to combat this issue.
MIGS refers to a group of glaucoma surgeries. These surgeries work by using various minimally invasive tools. The tools used during MIGS were made to create tiny incisions, reducing the incidence of complication.
Types of Minimally Invasive Glaucoma Surgery
iStent is a tiny medical implant that effectively lowers pressure inside of the eye. The iStent® device is the smallest medical implant known to be implanted into the human body – it’s that small! Once implanted into the eye, the iStent® works to restore your eye’s natural ability to drain fluid, keep eye pressure at a safe level, and possibly allow your doctor to reduce or eliminate your glaucoma medication.
The iStent® is a micro-bypass stent. This means it creates a tiny channel through which fluid will pass through, allowing your eye to drain fluid and avoid high intraocular pressure. The iStent® is inserted during cataract surgery.
The procedure is simple. During the surgery, your surgeon will remove your cataracts and then implant the iStent® device. This will be done through a small incision on the surface of the eye (called the cornea). Once implanted, you will not see or feel the device. You will go home the same day, and recovery will take place quickly.
Similar to the iStent®, the CyPass Micro-Stent is meant to be implanted during cataract surgery. This device works best for patients with primary open-angle glaucoma, during which fluid build-up causes high intraocular pressure. When implanted, the CyPass helps keep intraocular pressure (IOP) at a normal, safe level.
XEN® Gel Stent
The Xen® Gel Stent is a surgical implant used to lower intraocular pressure in patients with open-angle glaucoma. This device is typically used when other treatment methods have failed, such as eye drops or oral medication.
The XEN® Gel Stent is a tiny, tube-shaped device that, when inserted into the eye, becomes soft and flexible. The Xen® stent works by creating a tiny channel in the eye to drain fluid. The stent is inserted just under the conjunctiva (the clear membrane that covers the white of your eye.)
Kahook Dual Blade Goniotomy
The Kahook Dual Blade Goniotomy helps surgeons lower intraocular pressure by creating a drainage channel in the trabecular meshwork of the eye (the tissue responsible for draining fluid from the front of the eye).
This procedure can be performed during cataract surgery or as a stand-alone procedure. During this procedure, your surgeon will use the Kahook dual blade to create an incision in the trabecular meshwork, allowing increased fluid drainage.
Curious about MIGS? If you and your doctor have determined that your glaucoma medication or previous treatments have not sufficiently lowered your IOP, ask about MIGS! MIGS allows your doctor to treat your glaucoma effectively and safely, without all the hassle.
Early detection can be the difference. Call Williamson Eye Center today or schedule your next eye exam online.
For more information, check out these useful resources:
- The American Academy of Ophthalmology
- The Glaucoma Foundation
- Research to Prevent Blindness or call 800-621-0026