Glaucoma Treatment in Lewiston
The inside of the eye is divided into three chambers. The Anterior chamber is the front part, between the cornea and iris. The Posterior chamber is between the iris and the lens The Vitreous chamber is between the lens and the back of your eye.
The anterior and posterior chambers are filled with a watery, clear fluid called the aqueous humor. The aqueous humor normally flows out through a mesh-like channel. When this channel becomes blocked, the aqueous humor can no longer drain out sufficiently and the liquid builds up in the eye, causing pressure to increase. This condition is known as glaucoma.
Types of Glaucoma
Open-angle glaucoma (also known as wide-angle, primary or chronic glaucoma)
Can be primary (cause unknown) or Secondary (due to disease or injury). This is the most common form of glaucoma and accounts for about 90% of all cases. That meshwork channel that should be functioning appears normal, but fluid no longer flows out as it should. Open-Angle glaucoma develops slowly. It is caused by the slow clogging of the draining mechanism and its symptoms are rarely noticeable; by the time many people seek medical attention, permanent damage has already occurred.
Angle-closure Glaucoma (also called acute glaucoma or narrow-angle glaucoma)
This is a much less common form of the disease, develops quickly, and is caused by blocked drainage, which rapidly raises the intraocular pressure. Symptoms are very noticeable and damage occurs quickly. This type of glaucoma is a medical emergency. The patient experiences rapid vision loss and acute pain.
Normal-Tension Glaucoma (also known as low-tension or normal-pressure glaucoma)
The optic nerve is damaged even though the intraocular pressure is not very high. The exact cause is unknown.
A child is born with this condition.
Who Is At Risk For Glaucoma?
You are more likely to develop glaucoma if you:
- Have a family history of the disease. Open-angle glaucoma is hereditary.
- Have diabetes
- Have had injury or trauma to one or both eyes
- Are over age 60
- Have poor vision
- Are African-American
- Use steroids like prednisone
- Are Asian
- Have hypertension (high blood pressure)
What are the Symptoms?
Basically, for the most common type of glaucoma, there are no symptoms. That’s why it is so important to have regular eye exams with your optometrist. Eye care professionals can detect a problem long before you are aware that it exists. If you experience any of the following, seek immediate medical attention:
- Vision loss
- Redness in the eye
- Eye pain (may also feel nausea and/or vomit)
- Tunnel vision (narrow vision)
- Seeing a halo around lights
- Hazy look in the eye
How is Glaucoma Diagnosed?
Your optometrist is skilled at detecting an eye problem - including glaucoma- before you may be aware of it. Your eye care professionals have the equipment, training, and experience to help you maintain your eye health.
Treatment for Glaucoma
Treatment for glaucoma varies by type and may involve either improving the flow of fluid from the eye, reducing fluid production in the eye, or both. Some treatment methods include:
In most cases, the initial treatment for glaucoma may be eye drops, such as prostaglandin or cholinergic agents. Some people experience eye drop side effects including redness, stinging and tingling. These are powerful medications and must be used as prescribed to get the best results.
If a patient cannot tolerate eye drops, or they do not work, surgical intervention may be necessary to reduce the pressure inside the eye. Types of Surgery may include:
- Laser beam unblocking of clogged drainage canals. (Trabeculoplasty)
- Drainage Implant (aqueous shunt) a small tube is placed in the eye to help drain fluid.
Glaucoma accounts for over 10 million visits to physicians each year. This disease creeps up silently, frequently without symptoms. There is no cure for glaucoma, but the sooner you are diagnosed, the sooner the appropriate treatment can begin.
Dr. Mailhot and the friendly staff at Family Eye Health & Contact Lens Center are dedicated to the care of your precious vision. Your optometrist in the Lewiston ME is available to examine you, quickly detect any problems and provide the care you need. Please call us at (207) 782-9501