Glaucoma Specialist in Shillington, PA
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Glaucoma is often thought of as a rare disease, but it is more common than you might think. Did you know that over 70 million people worldwide suffer from glaucoma. In fact, glaucoma is often referred to as a “silent thief of sight” because it has no symptoms until the late stages. Most people do not even know they have the disease. Early detection and treatment is key. Our Eye Consultants of Pennsylvania glaucoma specialist in Shillington, PA can help.
What exactly is glaucoma?
Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of preventable blindness in the world. In the US, glaucoma affects over three million people. The disease is caused by very high internal eye pressure. Over time, the pressure buildup damages the optic nerve, inhibiting its ability to transmit visual signals from the eye to the brain. Glaucoma is actually a group of eye diseases, but they all result in optic nerve damage:
- Primary Open-Angle Glaucoma
- Normal Tension Glaucoma
- Angle-Closure Glaucoma
- Pigmentary Glaucoma
- Exfoliation Syndrome
- Trauma-Related Glaucoma
- Childhood Glaucoma
Damage from high pressure happens gradually. Most patients don’t even notice symptoms until the late stages of the disease, and then it is too late. The main indicator of glaucoma is degradation of vision, but most people attribute the vision loss to aging or other reasons, and by the time there is any significant vision loss, the glaucoma is typically already in an advanced stage. Often, extensive optic nerve damage has already taken place.
Can glaucoma be treated?
Vision loss that has already occurred cannot be repaired. This is why early detection is so critical. If our glaucoma specialists in Shillington see that you have glaucoma, we can preserve your remaining vision and protect your eyes against serious vision loss.
At Eye Consultants of Pennsylvania, our physicians stress the importance of regular eye exams because these exams are the only way to detect the optic nerve damage that is indicative of glaucoma. During our comprehensive eye exam, our team will perform several tests designed to detect glaucoma and any early signs of the disease.
We offer three standard treatments for glaucoma: medications, a laser trabeculoplasty procedure or conventional surgery. All three reduce the intraocular pressure inside the eye. We can prevent further vision loss by lowering the internal eye pressure. Left untreated, the pressure keeps rising, the optic nerve suffers further damage, and patients do eventually go blind.
We typically use medications for early-stage glaucoma. These are either in pill or eye drop form, and both are designed to lower eye pressure. For more advanced glaucoma, we perform a surgical procedure called laser trabeculoplasty. This risk-free, effective procedure can be done in-office as an outpatient procedure. It involves draining fluid from the internal eye to lower intraocular pressure.
If the above two methods are not helpful to a particular patient, our surgeons then usually suggest the more traditional surgery option. And, sometimes a patient is just not a good candidate for the above two procedures. The conventional surgery involves the surgeon creating a new opening for the internal eye fluid to continuously drain in order to lower the internal pressure. There are more potential complications with this procedure, such as a higher infection risk, and a higher likelihood of developing cataracts or other cornea problems down the road.
Why glaucoma screening is crucial
Our team can certainly provide effective treatment, but the best option is a regular eye exam that includes a glaucoma screening. Early detection is the best way forward, so if it’s been a bit since your last eye exam, please call us to schedule a free consultation with our experienced glaucoma specialist in Shillington, PA. Give us a call today at 610-378-8500 to come in to our nearby Wyomissing office.
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