Glaucoma is a disease that can cause vision loss often without warning or symptoms. Learn more about how glaucoma can affect your vision and what you can do to protect your eyesight.
Glaucoma Management in Marietta
Board Certified, Fellowship Trained Glaucoma Doctors in Georgia: Dr. Shunai Jiang and Dr. Allison Dublin
Significance of Glaucoma
Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness in the U.S. and the leading cause of preventable blindness. According to the Glaucoma Research Foundation, it is estimated that over 3 million Americans have glaucoma but only half of them know they have it. This disease can occur at any time, but becomes increasingly more prevalent with age.
Causes of Glaucoma
There are over 40 different kinds of glaucoma. The common denominator among them is damage to the optic nerve with visual disturbance. The damage may occur due to elevated intraocular pressure (IOP) or even at "normal" pressure ranges (normal tension glaucoma—NTG). Some people may have IOP above normal and yet develop no nerve damage (ocular hypertension), while others may have normal IOP with associated optic nerve damage (NTG), as noted above.
Symptoms of Glaucoma
Glaucoma can progress without signs or symptoms until advanced, irrevocable visual loss occurs. The pattern of loss usually begins in the periphery where it is not noticed and encroaches on central vision over time. If not treated, irreversible visual loss, including total blindness, can result.
Open-angle glaucoma often has no symptoms until after vision loss has occurred. It is a leading cause of blindness, but if caught early it can be controlled. If you are African-American, have a relative with glaucoma, are diabetic or very nearsighted, you should have your eye pressure checked every year.
Narrow-angle glaucoma is rarer and is very different from open-angle glaucoma in that eye pressure usually goes up very fast. There may be a feeling of fullness in the eye along with reddening, swelling and blurred vision. If not treated promptly, this glaucoma produces blindness in the affected eye in 3 to 5 days.
Prevention of Glaucoma Blindness
Early detection and proper treatment is the key to preventing visual loss from glaucoma. As symptoms are lacking in the initial stages, early clinical manifestations must be recognized by a trained physician. As IOP may be normal in certain forms of glaucoma, this parameter alone is not sufficient to diagnose the disease. IOP is a risk factor for glaucoma, so is always checked as part of your evaluation. The appearance of the optic nerve is assessed, as is the visual field, in order to evaluate for glaucoma. Additional studies may also be helpful, including nerve fiber layer analysis and corneal thickness measurements.
Our doctors may recommend different types of glaucoma treatment in Atlanta, depending on the severity of your condition:
- Medicated eye drops
- iStent® trabecular micro-bypass stent to improve the outflow of aqueous humor from the eye, reducing intraocular pressure (typically implanted during cataract surgery)
- EX-PRESS® Shunt to regulate intraocular pressure by diverting the flow of aqueous humor fluid from the inner part of the eye to a space outside the eye
iStent Trabecular Micro-Bypass
Marietta Eye Clinic is one of the few practices in the area to offer iStent. This procedure benefits mild to moderate open-angle glaucoma patients by improving the natural outflow of fluid in the eye through a permanent opening in the spongy tissue located near the cornea and iris (trabecular meshwork). This is the smallest FDA-approved medical device for glaucoma treatment. It may reduce or eliminate your need for medicated eye drops to control glaucoma.
Benefits of iStent
- Invisible and comfortable
- Continually controls eye pressure while protecting eye tissue
- Reduces your risk of vision loss due to elevated eye pressure
- Requires just a 1.5-mm corneal incision for implantation
- Does not limit future vision treatment options
- Covered by many insurance plans and Medicare
Schedule a routine eye exam in Marietta, Georgia, today to keep your eye health in check.