There have been many advances in glaucoma treatment and surgery in recent years. If you live or work in Lancaster, PA, get in touch with Eye Consultants of Pennsylvania for an evaluation by one of our specialists to detect early signs of damage to your optic nerve and prevent permanent vision loss.
Eye Consultants of Pennsylvania is the leading ophthalmology practice in the Lancaster area, with four convenient locations in Wyomissing, Pottsville, Pottstown and Blandon.
Our skilled team of board certified ophthalmologists has vast experience in glaucoma treatments and surgical procedures. 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.
Symptoms of Glaucoma
This most common form of glaucoma usually has no warning signs or symptoms. It progresses slowly and you may not notice vision loss for many years. The only way to detect vision changes or damage to the optic nerve is to have regular eye exams.
This rarer form of glaucoma develops rapidly. An acute attack may involve only one eye, but you will definitely notice the symptoms and they may get worse over a few hours. They include:
- Sudden severe eye pain
- Headache or head pain
- Nausea or vomiting (along with the pain)
- Sudden blurred or hazy vision
- Sudden loss of vision in one eye
- Halos or rainbows around lights
- Redness of the eye
If you experience any of these symptoms, seek immediate medical attention at an emergency room. These symptoms do not necessarily mean that you have glaucoma, but they are signs of a potentially serious problem.
Glaucoma can usually be controlled with medications, laser surgery, conventional surgery or a combination of these treatments. Medicated eye drops are often the first step in treatment, but laser surgery may be equally effective. You and your doctor will be the best judges of which glaucoma treatment may be best for you.
Laser surgery can be very effective for treating glaucoma because there is no cutting. For open-angle glaucoma, the most common laser surgery is trabeculoplasty. The surgeon uses the laser beam to make small changes in the eye’s drainage system to allow fluid to flow more easily and reduce the intraocular pressure.
This is a painless procedure that takes 3 to 5 minutes. Risks and complications are usually minimal, but long-term success rates are variable. More than half of the individuals who have this surgery need additional treatment within five years. However, while it successfully lowers eye pressure in up to 75% of patients, it can be done only two or three times in each eye over a lifetime.
Individuals with narrow angle or angle-closure glaucoma may benefit from another type of laser surgery called a peripheral iridotomy. The surgeon creates a tiny hole in the iris (colored part of the eye) which equalizes the pressure in front of and behind the iris. This causes the iris to move away from the closed drainage angle and allows the aqueous fluid to drain normally.
If medications and laser surgery fail to reduce eye pressure, conventional surgery may be necessary. The most common procedure is a trabeculectomy, sometimes called filtration surgery, which is used in both open-angle and closed-angle glaucoma. The surgeon creates a passage to drain excess fluid from the inside of the eye to the outside by making a small hinged flap over a small hole in the white part of the eye (the sclera). This is normally an outpatient procedure which is performed under general anesthesia and takes 30 to 45 minutes.
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).
Each patient is different, so talk with the board certified, fellowship-trained Glaucoma specialists at Eye Consultants of Pennsylvania about the possible risks and benefits of each type of glaucoma treatment and surgery. We have an excellent track record of success in glaucoma treatment for patients in Lancaster, Ephrata, Denver, Elizabethtown, Reading, and Wyomissing, PA and beyond.