Glaucoma is a debilitating eye disease that can lead to permanent vision loss and even blindness. So much so that 2020 reports suggest about 80 million people have glaucoma worldwide, projected to increase to over 111 million by 2040. Additionally, glaucoma costs the U.S. economy $2.86 billion every year in direct costs and productivity expenses.
But how is glaucoma formed? Read on to learn the intricate connection between glaucoma and eye pressure—and how Center For Sight SW FL glaucoma surgery professionals can help manage and treat this condition effectively.
**Please note that the suggestions in this blog are for general informational purposes only and may not be suitable for your specific insurance plan and glaucoma needs. Consulting a qualified healthcare professional for personalized advice and treatment is essential.
Understanding Glaucoma and Eye Pressure
Glaucoma is defined as a group of eye diseases that cause damage to the optic nerve, leading to gradual vision loss. Within the eye’s mechanisms is intraocular pressure: the eye’s fluid pressure. Scientifically, pressure is the measurement of force per area. Retrospectively, IOP is the measurement of the magnitude of force shown by the aqueous humor on the internal surface of the anterior eye.
When the ciliary body weakens and fails to manage fluid buildup, the extra pressure harms the optic nerve. That’s why regular comprehensive eye exams are crucial for detecting glaucoma since symptoms may not be easily apparent.
As referenced in Understanding Glaucoma Surgery: Types, Symptoms, and Treatment Options, Glaucoma comes in four types, each of which is formed through varying degrees of drainage blockage:
- Primary Open-Angle Glaucoma: When people are diagnosed with glaucoma, it is usually Primary Open-Angle. This type presents itself over time and progressively weakens the drainage canals in the eye. The patient experiences greater eye pressure and permanent damage to the optic nerve as a result.
- Angle-Closure Glaucoma: When drainage in the eye becomes completely or partially blocked, eye pressure suddenly increases. The spike in eye pressure leads to rapid vision loss—seeking a medical professional is vital.
- Normal-Tension Glaucoma: Also referred to as low-tension or normal-pressure glaucoma, this type happens when the optic nerve weakens, even with stable eye pressure levels. The cause is currently unknown, but some signs suggest lower blood flow to the optic nerve is the main issue.
- Secondary Glaucoma: This is caused by injuries like eye trauma, inflammation, or certain medications. Treating the underlying problem is essential to managing secondary glaucoma.
Treating Glaucoma with Glaucoma Surgery
At Center For Sight SW FL, patients can easily access a hub of advanced glaucoma surgery treatments tailored to their specific needs. The highly skilled team of specialists at the center is experienced in leveraging the latest advancements in the field to provide optimal care and management of glaucoma.
On a side note, eye drops or oral medications are commonly prescribed to control less severe cases of glaucoma and manage intraocular pressure. These medications work by lowering fluid production in the eye or increasing drainage, effectively reducing the IOP and preventing further damage to the optic nerve. However, all forms of glaucoma are irreversible without surgery. Modern glaucoma surgery strategies are as follows:
Glaucoma laser surgery techniques like laser trabeculoplasty (SLT) involve using a specialized laser to target and treat specific areas of the eye responsible for fluid drainage. By precisely applying laser energy to these areas, SLT stimulates improved drainage and helps regulate intraocular pressure.
For patients requiring more intensive interventions, a glaucoma eye specialist performs the trabeculectomy surgical procedure to create a small drainage channel to bypass the blocked pathways, allowing excess fluid to drain from the eye. This procedure helps reduce intraocular pressure and prevent further damage to the optic nerve.
These small devices are inserted into the eye to provide a pathway for fluid drainage. Tube implants offer a reliable long-term solution for managing eye pressure and are particularly effective for patients who don’t respond well to other treatments.
The Importance of Early Detection
Detecting glaucoma at an early stage is essential for preventing further vision loss. Center For Sight of Southwest Florida emphasizes the significance of regular eye exams to identify glaucoma before it progresses; this cannot be done without measuring intraocular pressure. Early diagnosis allows for prompt treatment and better preservation of vision—and, ultimately, a better quality of life.
Glaucoma and Intraocular Pressure: A Direct Correlation
If you have glaucoma, you are in a race against time to prevent further vision loss. At Center For Sight, our eye doctors and glaucoma specialists understand the urgent need to match you with the right glaucoma surgery before your intraocular pressure increases.
Many forms of glaucoma can manifest without proper eye care. For more information on glaucoma and our surgery options, book an appointment for exceptional eye care from our local glaucoma eye specialist, Dr. Julie A. Carter.