Treatments to manage Glaucoma the “silent thief of sight”
Around 1.5 million Americans have been diagnosed with glaucoma, but the Glaucoma Research Foundation reports more than twice as many people in the U.S. are living with undiagnosed glaucoma. The condition, characterized by progressive damage to the optic nerve due to increased intraocular pressure in the eye, produces virtually no symptoms. As a result, glaucoma is all-too-frequently diagnosed late, after vision loss has occurred. In fact, glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness – accounting for a reported 9 to 12% of all cases.
Fortunately, ophthalmologist Dr. George Salib of Orange County Eye Institute in Laguna Hills, may recommend surgery or other treatments to manage the disease and prevent further damage. Dr. Salib has also invested in several cutting-edge diagnostic technologies, including two types of visual field-testing machines and an optic nerve analyzer to quantify the thickness of the optic nerve. Moreover, he has eliminated the use of the dreaded air puff machine when measuring, regularly retesting, and monitoring eye pressure.
Combined with a thorough evaluation, these tests provide considerable insights into the health of your eyes and inform appropriate treatment methods. Medicated eye drops may be effective treatments; however, surgical intervention may be necessary or recommended in addition to medications.
Surgical treatment methods
Laser-assisted treatment may be appropriate for patients with the most common type of glaucoma: primary open-angle that gradually results in the eye failing to properly drain fluid, which elevates intraocular pressure. Using this method, Dr. Salib precisely and painlessly directs the laser toward the area of the eye responsible for draining aqueous fluid, and the drainage angle is treated. So, it functions better; fluid build-up and pressure are decreased.
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Dr. Salib may also create a channel or small flap in the outer “white” of the eye (the sclera) for the aqueous fluid to flow through. A bubble-like pocket is made in the clear conjunctival tissue covering the eye. Precision surgical techniques help “hide” this “filtration bleb” under the upper eyelid. This approach allows the aqueous humor to flow from the eye via the flap and into the bleb, where it is then absorbed by tissue around the eye. Pressure is lowered accordingly.
Additional methods may involve placing a tiny drainage tube or implant under the conjunctiva to collect aqueous, which is later absorbed by blood vessels. Cataract surgery can also support eye health by removing the natural lens among those patients whose narrow angles block the drainage channel – creating space for fluid to depart the eye.
When you see well, you live well. At Orange County Eye Institute, we encourage you to contact us at (949) 441-5444 to schedule an examination at our Laguna Hills office.Back to Glaucoma Page