What is Glaucoma and How is it Treated? 

What is Glaucoma and How is it Treated?

Glaucoma is often a silent disease. When explaining it to patients, I often compare it to high blood pressure. Unless a person’s blood pressure is very high, we generally are not aware of having high blood pressure, and over time this elevated pressure can cause damage to our heart and brain, leading to heart attacks and strokes.

The eye is similar in many ways. Glaucoma essentially means that the pressure in the eye is too high for the eye to handle, and unless this pressure is dramatically elevated, we as patients, are unaware of the pressure of our eyes. Over time, this pressure causes damage to the nerve of the eye leading to permanent loss of vision. That is why it is so important for individuals to see their eye care provider periodically: to screen for a very treatable disease.

So how is glaucoma treated? Although every case is different, the traditional paradigm for treating open-angle (the most common form of) glaucoma is to use eye drops to lower the pressure; if unsuccessful, in office-laser treatment can be used to lower the pressure; if the pressure continues to be significantly elevated, incisional surgery will be necessary. Fortunately, due to the increasing variety and efficacy of glaucoma medications, incisional surgery is rarely necessary for glaucoma. Furthermore, in-office laser treatment for glaucoma (often referred to as laser trabeculoplasty) has shown such wonderful results in recent years, that it is increasingly being used as a first-line treatment instead of eye drops to lower the eye pressure. Many patients and their ophthalmologists love this procedure as it is low-risk, fast, and has the potential to control glaucoma without patients having to constantly place annoying drops in their eyes.

If you have further questions about Glaucoma, contact Dr. David Paikal, MD

David Paikal, MD

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