One of the leading causes of blindness in the United States, glaucoma affects more than three million people, yet only about half of those with the condition know they’re affected. There's no cure for glaucoma, but it can be managed by the team of eye care professionals at the Witlin Center for Advanced Eye Care, serving East Brunswick, Toms River, and Morristown, New Jersey. Early detection is crucial to successful treatment so call or click to make an appointment today.
A group of conditions that can cause damage to the optic nerve, glaucoma often features high-pressure levels within your eye. Glaucoma frequently has no symptoms or warning signs until its most advanced stages, so eye exams that include a measurement of eye pressure are typically how the presence of the condition is found. Vision loss resulting from glaucoma is permanent and irreversible. Even if caught prior to optic nerve damage, managing glaucoma is necessary your entire life.
Though the reasons behind the origins of glaucoma aren’t fully known, the elevated eye pressure occurs because of a buildup of fluid that flows through your eyes but then doesn’t drain normally. This could be due to problems with the drainage system, or overproduction of fluid overwhelming the normally operating drainage. Glaucoma has several different subtypes.
The most common form of glaucoma is called open-angle glaucoma. The drain for eye fluid remains open, but the meshwork that supplies the drain becomes partially blocked, gradually leading to increased pressure. Onset is usually very slow, so you may lose vision before there’s any indication of a problem.
Closed-angle glaucoma results from the blockage or closure of the fluid drain and the resulting increases in pressure. As with open-angle glaucoma, the onset may be gradual, but closed-angle glaucoma can also be acute, coming on suddenly and presenting an immediate threat to your eyesight.
Normal-tension glaucoma sees optic nerve damage occurring without increased pressure in your eyes. The reasons for this type of glaucoma are unknown, though it’s suspected that problems with circulation and blood flow to the optic nerve are behind the problem.
Damage resulting from glaucoma is unfortunately permanent. Treatment frequently involves management of the pressure inside your eye. The most common place to start is with prescription eye drops that either drain fluid or decrease the amount of fluid made by your eye.
There are several surgical options that focus on relieving pressure through improved drainage. The specialists at Witlin Center for Advanced Eye Care typically choose one of these procedures:
iStent®: a tiny physical bypass, allowing more normal drainage of eye fluid, typically performed in conjunction with cataract surgery
Laser peripheral iridotomy uses a surgical laser to improve fluid dynamics in the eye by creating a small opening in the edge of the iris.