According to Prevent Blindness America and the World Health Organization, most people are aware that glaucoma is related to elevated eye pressure, but they are unaware that there is no cure, that there are rarely any symptoms or warning signs, and that glaucoma leads to blindness. The good news is that early detection and proper treatment with medication or surgery can save the vision of most people with the disease.
Eye Consultants of Pennsylvania is the leading ophthalmology practice in Berks, Schuylkill, Lebanon, Lancaster and Montgomery counties. We have an excellent track record of success in glaucoma treatment for patients in Ephrata, Denver, Lancaster, Elizabethtown, Reading, and Wyomissing, PA and beyond.
Our highly qualified board certified ophthalmologists – Edna Z. Mahmood, MD, Elliot B. Werner, MD, Mehul H. Nagarsheth, MD, and Justin M. Shaw, MD – have vast experience in current glaucoma treatments and surgeries as well as new advancements that show great promise.
Facts about Glaucoma
- Glaucoma is caused by increased pressure in the eye due to a buildup of excess fluid. It can cause irreversible damage to the optic nerve if left undetected and untreated.
- Glaucoma is a leading cause of irreversible blindness in the U.S. and worldwide (second only to cataracts).
- Nearly 2 million Americans are known to have glaucoma, and another 2 million most likely have the disease but don’t yet know it.
- 90% to 95% of these Americans are affected by the most common form of the disease, open-angle glaucoma.
- In the U.S., the most common form of glaucoma, called open-angle glaucoma, strikes African Americans (especially those over age 40) and Hispanics (especially those over age 60) at higher rates than other ethnic groups.
- African Americans are 15 times more likely to suffer vision loss from glaucoma than Caucasians.
- People of Asian descent are more likely to suffer from the rarer form of glaucoma, called closed-angle glaucoma.
- Other high-risk groups include people over age 60, family members of people with glaucoma, diabetics, and people who are severely nearsighted.
- Early detection and treatment for glaucoma can usually show the progression of the disease.
Treatment for Glaucoma
If your eye doctor determines that you have glaucoma, he or she may recommend prescription eye drops, laser surgery, or another type of conventional surgery. Every patient’s circumstances are different – including lifestyle, disease progression, age, ethnicity and other health conditions. It’s important to work with your ophthalmologist to find the treatment that is right for you.
Glaucoma surgery can be used to treat open-angle glaucoma and closed-angle glaucoma. While conventional surgery is often the first choice for closed-angle glaucoma, open-angle glaucoma is typically treated first with medication or laser surgery.
- Laser Surgery: There are several types of laser surgery, but they are all similar. The laser beam is used to make small changes in the eye’s drainage system to allow fluid to flow more easily and reduce the intraocular pressure. If the pressure is not adequately reduced or starts to rise again, your doctor may recommend conventional surgery.
- Trabeculectomy: The most common conventional surgery is a trabeculectomy, sometimes called filtration surgery, which is used in both open-angle and closed-angle glaucoma. The surgeon creates a passage in the white part of the eye (the sclera) to give excess eye fluid a new place to drain.
There are other glaucoma surgeries, including drainage implant surgery, canaloplasty (a recent advancement in non-penetrating surgery), and the Trabectome (a new probe-like device that is inserted into the anterior chamber through the cornea). If you are a candidate for surgery, discuss the alternatives with your doctor.
If you live or work in Ephrata, PA, don’t hesitate to get in touch with the board certified, fellowship-trained Glaucoma specialists at Eye Consultants of Pennsylvania. They will provide you with exceptional care while helping you make informed decisions about available treatment options that can minimize the irreversible effects of glaucoma. We have four convenient locations in Wyomissing, Pottsville, Pottstown and Blandon.