Glaucoma is an eye disease that can cause gradual and permanent loss of vision. It is one of the leading causes of irreversible vision loss in the world. At Pinnacle Eye Center, you are in the experienced and capable hands of specialists dedicated to helping preserve your vision.
Glaucoma is a group of eye conditions that cause damage to the optic nerve. The optic nerve is responsible for transmitting information from the retina at the back of the eye to the brain.
Once this information reaches the brain, the brain can produce an image for you to see. Damage to the optic nerve from glaucoma is usually caused by consistently elevated eye pressure.
Increased eye pressure strains the optic nerve and can cause damage to the nerve fibers, which leads to permanent vision loss. This vision loss usually starts peripherally and may be hard to notice in the early stages of glaucoma.
You are constantly creating fluid inside the eye. To maintain a healthy eye pressure level, the fluid must also leave your eye at a consistent rate. When the eye produces too much fluid or isn’t releasing enough fluid, the eye pressure will rise, potentially leading to glaucoma.
This rise in eye pressure can be asymptomatic, and many patients do not realize their eye pressure is elevated. Screening for glaucoma is extremely important for this reason, as many patients are diagnosed upon routine eye exams.
All glaucoma treatment aims to lower eye pressure and thus preserve vision. There are many methods of treatment for glaucoma.
Glaucoma specialists will recommend treatment depending on the type of glaucoma and the severity of the condition. At Pinnacle Eye Center, our glaucoma specialists utilize some of the most advanced treatment methods and technologies available to control glaucoma.
Eye doctors will often begin treatment of mild to moderate glaucoma with medicated eye drops. There are various prescription eye drops that glaucoma specialists prescribe depending on the root cause of the elevated eye pressure.
Glaucoma eye drops must be taken regularly and on time to work appropriately. If glaucoma drops do not adequately lower the eye pressure, your eye doctor may recommend alternative treatments.
A new and alternative way to lower eye pressure without the need for drops or laser is an intraocular implant called Durysta.
Durysta is a dissolvable implant that releases medication into the eye slowly and lowers eye pressure in those with open-angle glaucoma.
Pinnacle Eye Center was one of the first in Brevard County to offer the Dursta implant to our patients.
Glaucoma drainage procedures are often recommended for patients when other treatment methods have been unsuccessful. In cases of glaucoma where surgery is needed, glaucoma surgeons may insert a stent or shunt into the eye to create an alternate route for the outflow of fluid out of the eye.
Some of these procedures include the EX-PRESS Mini-Shunt, Xen Gel Stent, and the Aqueous Tube Shunt. These procedures involve inserting a device to help increase drainage by bypassing the natural drainage system in the eye. These procedures are usually performed in those with more advanced stages of glaucoma.
Glaucoma laser procedures aim to reduce eye pressure by increasing the outflow of fluid from the eye. At Pinnacle Eye Center, our eye doctors offer MLT – laser trabeculoplasty and laser peripheral iridotomy (LPI).
MicroPulse laser trabeculoplasty, also known as MLT, is an advanced and gentle laser procedure that aims to treat open-angle glaucoma. During the MLT Trabeculoplasty procedure, your eye doctor will use a laser to send repetitive, low-energy pulses to the drainage channel in the eye, increasing the outflow. This is a safe and repeatable procedure and is often used as a first-line treatment for glaucoma.
A laser peripheral iridotomy or LPI is a procedure performed in patients with narrow-angle glaucoma, angle-closure glaucoma, or those who are suspects for angle-closure glaucoma. Angle-closure glaucoma is an ocular emergency and can be sight-threatening.
During a laser peripheral iridotomy, your eye doctor will use a laser to make a tiny hole in your iris. This helps create a relief valve so fluid can exit the eye easily if the drainage angle is blocked.
The MLT trabeculoplasty and laser peripheral iridotomy procedures aim to create greater fluid drainage out of the eye and lower eye pressure. Our expert ophthalmologists routinely perform both procedures.
Minimally Invasive Glaucoma Surgery, also known as MIGS, are procedures that aim to lower eye pressure with minimal trauma to the tissue for those with mild to moderate glaucoma. These surgeries are safe, low risk, and are effective at lowering eye pressure, potentially reducing the need for topical drops.
Some MIGS procedures include inserting a glaucoma drainage device, and some do not.
One significant benefit of MIGS is that the procedure can be performed at the same time as cataract surgery, allowing those planning to undergo a cataract surgery the option to better control their eye pressure.
At Pinnacle Eye Center, both of our eye surgeons offer multiple MIGS options, including the OMNI Surgical System, Hydrus Microstent, iStent Inject W, and Streamline Surgical System goniotomy.
Although glaucoma is not curable, it can be treated. It is essential that those with glaucoma see their eye doctor regularly to ensure that they are not at risk for vision loss.