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Treating Glaucoma

Dr. Schottenstein and his team are always striving to provide the best ophthalmic care in a comfortable, friendly environment for all of our patients. We understand how important maintaining proper eye care is, and we want you to have as much information as possible to make an informed decision about the treatment and procedures that are right for you. One of our most common conditions that we assist our patients with is glaucoma, and knowing what glaucoma is and the best way to combat it is the first step in treating it.

 

Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness in the United States, and the chances of suffering glaucoma increases with age. Loss of sight from glaucoma is preventable when treated early. Glaucoma is a common eye disorder that is, in fact, not one but an entire group of disorders with a common label. It consists of a group of disorders that damages the optic nerve, which serves to send the images from the eye to the brain.

It was once believed that glaucoma was caused by high fluid pressure inside the eye (called intraocular pressure). Experts now know that, while high intraocular pressure is a risk factor for glaucoma, it is not the only cause.

The early stages of glaucoma are undetectable, and experts estimate that only half of the people who currently have glaucoma even realize that they are affected. While there is no cure for glaucoma, many medications and procedures exist that can help to slow the disease or stop it altogether. However, like so many eye-related disorders, early diagnosis is essential. Because the early stages of glaucoma have no noticeable symptoms, regular eye exams are recommended for everyone, even those who have no eye-related symptoms or problems.

When clear liquid (aqueous humor) flows in and out of the eye at an uneven rate, fluid pressure within the inner eye becomes elevated, leading to damage to the optic nerve. Higher intraocular pressures lead to a higher risk of developing glaucoma. However, some patients with elevated pressures will not develop glaucoma and some patients with statically normal pressures will develop glaucoma.

Glaucoma can present itself in a couple different ways, from more mild and gradual, to accelerated and severe. Here are the different types and what sets them apart from one another:

Open Angle Glaucoma

  • More common
  • Rise in pressure is slow and mild
  • No initial symptoms
  • Vision worsens slowly over time
  • Blindness can ensue without treatment
  • Can be treated with prescription eye drops.

Narrow Angle Glaucoma

  • Less common
  • Easier to detect
  • Faster and more severe damage to optic nerve
  • Requires laser surgery for treatment

If you start to experience any of these symptoms, you should request an ophthalmology appointment with us immediately, as these are signs that narrow angle glaucoma are setting in:

  • Blurry vision
  • Headaches
  • Seeing rainbows
  • Seeing spotty light
  • Severe eye pain
  • Nausea and vomiting

Regular eye exams are the best way to detect glaucoma. Dr. Schottenstein will measure your intraocular pressure, evaluate any nerve damage, check the drainage angle of your eye, and test your vision. Photographs of your optic nerves may be taken in order to document the appearance of your optic nerves.

Though glaucoma has no known cure, there are highly successful ways to treat glaucoma, in some cases, even completely halting its negative effects on vision. Here are some of the most common treatments:

  • Medication, such as pressure lowering drops
  • Laser procedures
  • Incisional surgery such as trabeculectomy or goniotomy
  • Shunts/implants

Again, early detection and treatment is extremely crucial for slowing or halting the process of the disease. Vision loss is permanent and should be taken very seriously.

Contact Your Local Upper West Side
Ophthalmologist Dr. Schottenstein

Dr. Schottenstein and his team are here not just for your glaucoma needs, but also anything to do with maintaining proper eye care. We are able to answer your questions and schedule appointments between Monday and Saturday. If you would like to reach out to us, you may do so by calling (212) 874-2300. One of our helpful office staff will assist you in any way they can. If you believe you have any of these symptoms, we encourage you to request an appointment today so we can see you in our office as soon as possible.