Glaucoma is a progressive condition that can damage the eye's optic nerve, potentially resulting in vision loss and blindness. If left untreated, damage to the optic nerve can cause irreversible vision loss. Although glaucoma is not curable, Pocono Eye Associates, Inc. provides ophthalmology services to help patients manage the disease and its symptoms medically, either with laser treatment or surgery.
Medication is the mainstay of treating most types of glaucoma. Various types of eye drops are used to lower the eye’s pressure by helping better drain eye fluid and decreasing the amount of fluid produced by the eye. Other types of pharmaceutical medications are available for glaucoma treatment, including combination drugs designed for patients who need more than one medication, to relieve symptoms with as few side effects as possible.
Selective laser trabeculoplasty uses a neodymium: YAG laser to focus light energy on the internal drainage channel of the eye. SLT targets the pigmented (melanin-containing) cells in the trabecular meshwork using a very short application of light. Because SLT uses a low amount of energy, the surrounding tissue is not damaged. The treatment allows the drain to work more efficiently, successfully lowering eye pressure by approximately 30 percent with effectiveness generally lasting between one to five years, according to the Glaucoma Research Foundation.
When medication and laser methods fail to lower intraocular pressure, filtration surgery may be the best option. This conventional glaucoma surgery improves drainage by creating a flap in the outer layers of the eye. To begin, the doctor applies either topical or local anesthesia. When the eyes are numb, the doctor surgically creates the flap.
Some patients have a narrow drainage system, which puts them at risk for angle closure glaucoma. Laser iridotomy is an in-office procedure that reduces the risk of angle closure glaucoma. The doctor begins the procedure by applying drops that constrict the pupils and anesthetize the eyes. A contact lens is then inserted to help keep the eye open. Using a laser, the doctor creates a small opening in the upper part of the iris, below the eyelid, so that it is inconspicuous. The use of the laser allows the eye to heal more quickly than with non-laser surgical incisions.
If you have experienced blurred or distorted vision, eye pain, or visual disturbances, call Pocono Eye Associates, Inc. at (570) 421-8842 to schedule an appointment at a location near you for a glaucoma screening. We have three convenient offices serving residents across northeastern Pennsylvania.
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