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Glaucoma is the leading cause of permanent blindness in the United States, and it is estimated to affect nearly one in every 50 adults. Glaucoma is often called the "silent bandit of vision" because in most cases vision loss appears gradually, unnoticed by the patient until it has become severe. Fortunately, with today’s technology and early detection, loss of sight due to most cases of glaucoma can be controlled.

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Early Warning Signs

Because most people with glaucoma have no early symptoms or pain, it is important to have regular, routine eye exams so that glaucoma can be diagnosed and treated before long-term visual loss occurs.

Some of the early warning signs include:

  • Ocular pain
  • Cloudy vision with halos
  • Blurry vision
  • Red eyeballs
  • Small blind spots in the peripheral vision
  • Headaches
  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

A clear, watery fluid called the aqueous fluid is a filtrate of blood, which fills the chambers of the eye. This is a source of nourishment because it eliminates waste and cleans the eye. The process of the aqueous fluid flowing in and out creates a pressure that is called the intraocular pressure and the inflow versus the outflow of aqueous fluid is measured. When people have glaucoma, the inflow and outflow of this pressure is not working properly and can be categorized as open angle glaucoma or closed angle glaucoma. With open angle glaucoma, peripheral vision tends to be affected first and if not treated, it can result in a loss of vision.

Glaucoma Treatment Options

Routine Eye Exam

A routine eye exam is the best way to protect yourself from glaucoma because symptoms usually do not appear until vision has been affected. An early diagnosis can help stop the progression of this eye condition and there are treatments available. 

Laser Glaucoma Surgery

We offer both Argon Laser Trabeculoplasty (ALT) as well as Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT) to help treat glaucoma. These laser treatments are designed to help lower the eye pressure and can often reduce the need for eye drops. The procedure is very safe, only takes a few minutes, and there is generally no pain. In addition, patients can go back to their regular activities immediately without any restrictions.

Minimally-Invasive Glaucoma Surgery

This group of surgeries utilize some newer techniques and devices to help treat glaucoma that offer the advantage of being safer than some of the more traditional glaucoma surgeries. This combined approach allows for both the cataract and glaucoma to be addressed with one surgery, therefore saving patients an extra trip the operating room.

Trabeculectomy

This glaucoma surgery can be very effective at reducing the eye pressure, but also caries significantly more risk than the minimally invasive surgeries. At Busack Eye Center, we use a stepwise approach to treating glaucoma, typically starting with the safer, less-invasive approaches and then moving towards more aggressive approaches as necessary.

Tube-Shunt

This is another form of surgery to treat glaucoma and involves placing a small tube in the eye to drain fluid. This surgery is typically reserved for advanced cases of glaucoma, after several other surgeries have been tried.

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