Understanding Glaucoma: A Silent Threat to Vision
Glaucoma is a condition affecting the optic nerve, which is responsible for transmitting visual information from the eye to the brain. It occurs when the optic nerve gradually deteriorates, often due to increased pressure within the eye. This pressure buildup, usually caused by inadequate drainage of the aqueous fluid, can lead to irreversible damage over time.
The most prevalent form of glaucoma is known as “primary open-angle glaucoma” and is characterized by its painless progression. Unfortunately, this stealthy nature means that individuals may experience a gradual loss of vision without even realizing it until the disease has advanced significantly.
Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness in the United States, particularly among older individuals. Without proper treatment, it can ultimately result in complete vision loss.
Comprehensive Glaucoma Testing and Diagnosis
When it comes to glaucoma, early detection is vital for successful management and preserving vision. At Rhode Island Eye Institute, our specialist, Dr. Sarah Anis, employs a comprehensive approach to diagnose glaucoma accurately. Through specialized tests and state-of-the-art technology, she identifies signs of glaucoma and determines the most appropriate treatment plan.
Dr. Sarah Anis performs several key assessments to evaluate your eye health. These include:
- Measure intraocular pressure (tonometry)
- Inspect the drainage angle of the eye (gonioscopy)
- Evaluate any optic nerve damage (ophthalmoscopy)
- Test the peripheral vision of each eye (visual field testing or perimetry)
- Take color stereoscopic photographs of the optic nerves which are used to follow the appearance of the optic nerve
In addition to these essential examinations, Rhode Island Eye Institute is equipped with advanced technologies to aid in the diagnosis and management of glaucoma. These include:
- OCT (Optical Coherence Tomography): Utilizing ordinary light, OCT provides a detailed cross-sectional image of the optic nerve and nerve fiber layers. This non-invasive imaging technique helps detect glaucoma-related damage and enables precise monitoring of disease progression.
Personalized Glaucoma Treatment in Providence
While the damage caused by glaucoma is generally irreversible, there are treatment options available to slow or prevent the progression of the disease. The primary goal of these treatments is to control intraocular pressure (IOP).
Medications (Eye Drops)
Daily use of prescribed eye drops can help regulate eye pressure by either reducing the production of aqueous fluid in the eye or enhancing its drainage through the eye’s drainage angle.
Laser Surgery (Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty or SLT):
This minimally invasive procedure improves the drainage of aqueous fluid from the eye using laser technology. By targeting specific cells in the drainage angle, SLT helps enhance fluid outflow, lowering eye pressure.
Minimally Invasive Glaucoma Surgery (MIGS)
MIGS procedures are relatively new and offer a less invasive option for managing glaucoma. These procedures involve using micro-sized implants or stents to create or enhance drainage channels within the eye, improving the flow of aqueous fluid and reducing eye pressure. MIGS techniques are typically performed during cataract surgery or as standalone procedures, and they have shown promising results in reducing the need for glaucoma medications.
Conventional Surgery (Trabeculectomy or Tube Shunt Surgery)
In cases where other treatments are ineffective, conventional surgery may be necessary to lower eye pressure. Trabeculectomy involves creating a new drainage channel in the eye to bypass the natural drainage pathway, while tube shunt surgery involves implanting a small tube to redirect fluid flow from the eye to an external reservoir.
Experience the power of personalized care and expertise as Dr. Sarah Anis helps improve your vision. With advanced treatments and a compassionate approach, she will guide you toward a brighter future, giving you the clarity and confidence to embrace life to the fullest.