Although glaucoma can occur at any age, the risk of developing the disease increases dramatically after the age of 35. Glaucoma is more likely to develop in persons who are nearsighted, have a family history of glaucoma, diabetics and African Americans. Because there are no symptoms with early glaucoma, the disease can go unnoticed until permanent visual loss has occurred. Fortunately, with early diagnosis and treatment, visual damage from glaucoma can be prevented.
Glaucoma is usually caused by an increase in the pressure in the eye. Various mechanisms include progressive blockage of the drainage channels or an overproduction of fluid can result in an increase in intraocular pressure. This elevated pressure damages the optic nerve and results in blind spots in the field of vision.
The most common treatment for glaucoma is the use of medications in the form of eye drops. These drops improve the drainage in the eye or decrease the production of fluid. Because medications and eye drops can be costly and cause undesirable side effects, or simply fail to control the intraocular pressure, alternative treatments are available.
SLT: Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty
is an advanced type of laser treatment to manage open angle glaucoma. SLT stimulates specific pigmented cells to activate increased fluid drainage. This procedure is a quick, painless outpatient procedure with no downtime for recovery. There is no adverse scarring and can be repeated to improve effective pressure lowering.
ECP: Endoscopic Cyclophotocoagulation
is a surgical technique that inhibits the production of aqueous in the eye. This procedure is performed using a state-of-the-art laser microendoscope. The endoscope allows Dr. Konowal to view and treat the ciliary processes on the underside of the iris. This procedure is combined with cataract surgery with the microendoscope being introduced through a small incision already made during cataract surgery. Both surgeries are performed under local anesthesia on an outpatient basis.
The iSTENT® (Trabecular-Micro-Bypass Stent) is the newest surgical treatment for mild to moderate glaucoma. It is the smallest medical device ever approved by the FDA. It is placed at the time of cataract surgery to lower intraocular pressure. The iSTENT is designed to create a permanent opening in the trabecular meshwork, which is the drainage system of the eye. It works by improving outflow of fluid from your eye to lower intraocular pressure. In a U.S. clinical study of patients who received the iSTENT, 68% of patients remained medication free at 12 months.