Glaucoma is a progressive condition where the pressure inside the eyes, or intraocular pressure, increases and exerts pressure on the optic nerve resulting in loss of peripheral or side vision without causing any pain. If left untreated, glaucoma will develop into its advanced stages and the damage it is inflicting on the optic nerve will escalate, which could lead to permanent blindness. Dr. Spencer Sherman of the Manhattan Ophthalmology Associates in Manhattan, New York, has developed specialized diagnostic procedures that will help you identify the symptoms of glaucoma earlier on, which is key to the effective management of the disease. Dr. Sherman recommends having complete eye examinations regularly if you are
found to have risk factors for glaucoma.
There are two different types of glaucoma, one is the open-angle type in which the eye and its structures appear to be physically normal, but upon closer inspection, the fluid inside is not draining properly through the trabecular meshwork, thereby increasing intraocular pressure. Narrow-angle glaucoma is less common but, similarly, drainage in the eye is impaired because the drainage channel between the iris and the cornea is too narrow.
Thanks to the advancements in ophthalmology, glaucoma may now be treated using one or a combination of the following procedures. The use of prescription eye drops has been a common method of disease management and works either by decreasing the production of fluid in the eye, or stimulating an increase in it’s outflow. Laser surgery has also been used to manage the symptoms of glaucoma by increasing the outflow of fluid and opening up the trabecular meshwork, facilitating free flow of ocular fluid, or treating inner layers of the eye to reduce the fluid production. Microsurgery has also been implicated in the treatment of glaucoma and often involves the creation of an additional drainage channel to aid in the alleviation of intraocular pressure.
If proper treatment is not given to a patient with glaucoma and the earliest symptoms are not addressed, loss of vision will occur. Once this happens, vision cannot be restored. That is why it is crucial to stress the importance of regular eye exams to reveal any underlying conditions, and strict compliance with the treatment regimen if the disease is already in progress.