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Glaucoma Treatment at Eye Center of Texas
Serving Houston, Sugar Land, Pasadena and Clear Lake
It is estimated that more than two million Americans have some type of glaucoma and half of them do not know it, missing the opportunity to seek glaucoma treatment. Glaucoma is a group of diseases that can damage the eye’s optic nerve and result in vision loss and blindness. 90% of glaucoma patients have open-angle glaucoma. This group of diseases cannot be cured, but it can be controlled with proper glaucoma treatment.
Glaucoma is caused by the drainage passage inside the eye being mechanically blocked or not functioning correctly. This causes a build-up of clear fluid called aqueous humor which subsequently causes a rise in intraocular pressure. This pressure, without proper and timely glaucoma treatment, can damage the optic nerve over time and cause a loss of peripheral vision and eventually central vision. The average intraocular pressure in adults is 15 mmHg, but normal intraocular pressure is different for each individual. The higher the intraocular pressure, the more likely is the possibility of progressive glaucoma damage and the more urgently glaucoma treatment is required. Even when the intraocular pressure is within the average range, however, glaucoma treatment may still be required as some patients are susceptible to glaucoma with average intraocular pressures.
Unfortunately, the common kinds of glaucoma have no early symptoms. Once the loss of vision is noticed by a patient, the damage is usually very severe and irreversible, too late for effective glaucoma treatment. Elevated pressure cannot be felt unless the pressure is very high. In order to preserve vision, glaucoma must be diagnosed early. All it takes is a simple test performed by your eye doctor during your routine eye exam. Glaucoma is a lifelong disease but can be controlled with the right glaucoma treatment.
Glaucoma can occur in people of all races and at any age. However, factors that increase a person’s risk include:
African American Heritage
High blood pressure
Long-term steroid treatment
Injury of trauma to the eye
Glaucoma should be checked for routinely at annual eye exams. If your eye doctor finds elevated pressures or suspicious-looking optic nerves, further tests should be done to assess the risk of glaucoma. Eye Center of Texas offers the latest Humphrey Visual Fields and OCT (Ocular Coherence Tomography) testing to assess damage to the optic nerve from glaucoma. OCT is one of the most effective ways to diagnose even early glaucoma, increasing the chances of successful glaucoma treatment.
If the diagnosis of glaucoma is made, there are several different glaucoma treatment options. These options include medication, laser eye surgery, or filtration surgery. The goal of glaucoma treatment is to lower the pressure in the eye and preserve the optic nerve.
Most glaucoma medications are in eye drop formulations. Rarely, oral medication is required but the majority of patients are treated with eye drops. Most glaucoma treatment administered in the form of medication must be taken between one and three times a day. Today’s latest medications have very few side effects but have to be used consistently to prevent blindness.
Laser Eye Surgery:
Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty, a highly effective glaucoma treatment, is a non-invasive procedure which increases the outflow of fluid from the eye and lowers the pressure. It is effective in 80% of people and many times, we can reduce the number of drops people use or eliminate the need for drops altogether. The average duration of effect for this glaucoma treatment is three to five years and can be repeated if necessary. The SLT is a painless procedure performed in the office and takes less than five minutes. One eye is treated at a time, and the second eye is usually treated one to two weeks after the first eye.
Endoscopic CycloPhotocoagulation (ECP) is another type of laser glaucoma treatment. Instead of treating the drainage canal, ECP treats the ciliary body and reduces the amount of fluid production thereby reducing the intraocular pressure. ECP is usually performed along with cataract surgery but can be done on any patients who have had their cataract removed. This particular glaucoma treatment is done on an outpatient basis and can usually reduce the number of drops people use or eliminate the need for drops altogether.
Filtration surgery is a glaucoma treatment done when medication and/or laser eye surgery is unsuccessful at controlling the intraocular pressure. During this procedure, a new drainage channel is created to allow aqueous humor to drain from the eye. It is important to understand these are all glaucoma treatments but there is no cure. It is very important each patient continues to see his or her eye doctor for pressure checks every 3-6 months depending on the severity of glaucoma and the pressure response to the glaucoma treatment.
Dr. Wade and Dr. Mayo are renowned Houston / Sugar Land LASIK surgeons, offering complete eye care to patients throughout Texas. They are also joined by Nicholas P. Bell, M.D., a board-certified ophthalmologist specializing in the medical, laser, and surgical management of glaucoma. Each of their five practice locations is equipped with the latest technologies and treatment tools to deliver excellent vision correction results. Some procedures they perform include Pasadena cataracts treatment, laser cataract surgery in Houston and eyelid surgery.