Glaucoma is one of the most common eye conditions and causes the optic nerve to deteriorate due to abnormally increased eye pressure gradually. The optic nerve is in charge of sending visual information from your eye to your brain. 

When the different types of glaucoma affect the eye, fluid starts to build up in the front part of the eye, causing blind spots in the vision. 

In the early stages of glaucoma, there may be no noticeable signs. However, as the condition advances, symptoms may include a gradual loss of vision, blurred vision, halos around lights, and difficulty seeing in low light. In severe cases, undiagnosed and untreated, glaucoma can lead to vision loss. 

Regular eye exams are the best way to identify glaucoma in the earliest stages. Treatment may include prescription eye drops to lower intraocular pressure, laser therapy, or surgery.

Types of Glaucoma

There are different types of glaucoma, including:

  • Primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG): It is characterized by an increase in intraocular pressure that gradually damages the optic nerve, leading to vision loss.
  • Angle-closure glaucoma: This type of glaucoma occurs when the angle between the iris and cornea narrows or closes, preventing proper fluid drainage from the eye. 
  • Normal-tension glaucoma: This type of glaucoma occurs when the optic nerve is damaged even though intraocular pressure is within the normal range.
  • Congenital glaucoma: It is typically caused by a developmental abnormality at birth in the eye's drainage system, leading to increased intraocular pressure and optic nerve damage.
  • Secondary glaucoma: This type of glaucoma is caused by an injury, swelling, or medication use. It can occur at any age and may progress rapidly.

Glaucoma Risk Factors

If left untreated, glaucoma can damage the optic nerve to the point of blindness. Some of the risk factors associated with it involve: 

  • Family history of glaucoma
  • Age
  • Medications such as corticosteroids
  • Thin corneas
  • Diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity
  • Eye trauma

Glaucoma Symptoms

Glaucoma can develop gradually without any noticeable symptoms during its early stages. As it progresses, symptoms may start to appear. These include:

  • Gradual loss of peripheral vision
  • Blurred vision
  • Halos around light
  • Eye pain
  • Eye redness
  • Headaches

Glaucoma Diagnosis

Glaucoma is diagnosed through a comprehensive eye exam, which typically includes:

  • An ophthalmoscopy, which involves eye drops to dilate the pupils and examine your optic nerve. This test is done to examine your retina and identify the overall state of the back of your eye.
  • A perimetry, that measures your range of vision and detects loss of peripheral vision. This test will help identify the extent of damage caused by glaucoma.
  • A gonioscopy, that evaluates the drainage angle of the eye. In case drainage is not being done properly by your eye, your doctor will suggest undergoing different treatments.
  • A tonometry, which measures the pressure inside your eye. Identifying this will help determine the stage of your case. 

Based on the results of these tests and evaluations, your doctor will determine if you have glaucoma and the type and severity of the condition.

Glaucoma Treatment

Treatment for glaucoma and other optic nerve problems usually involves lowering the intraocular pressure that damages the optic nerve or draining excess fluid from the eye. 

This can be achieved with eye drops, medication, laser treatment, surgery, or a combination of these. Choosing the right procedure will depend on your specific needs and the extent of damage in your eyes.

Eye Drops to Treat Glaucoma

Eye drops to treat glaucoma work by reducing the pressure inside the eye. The most common type of eye drops include the following:

  • Prostaglandin analogs which increase the outflow of eye fluids, decreasing intraocular pressure
  • Beta blockers which reduce the production of eye fluid. 
  • Alpha agonists which reduce the production of eye fluid while also increasing the outflow. 
  • Carbonic anhydrase inhibitors, as beta blockers, which help reduce the production of eye fluid. 

Medication to Treat Glaucoma

When eye drops do not help decrease intraocular pressure completely, your doctor may recommend using prescription medication to inhibit the production of eye fluids.

Laser Treatment to Treat Glaucoma

In case your doctor determines it is not the right procedure for you, laser treatment can help improve eye fluid drainage. With laser treatment, the angle where the iris and cornea meet will open up, allowing intraocular pressure to lower.

Glaucoma Surgery

Depending on the complexity of your case, your doctor may recommend glaucoma surgery as the last resource. During your surgery, the following steps will take place:

  1. Anesthesia: First, your doctor will apply local anesthesia around your eyes to help you remain comfortable during the procedure. 
  2. Incision: Your surgeon will make a small incision in the eye to drain your eye’s excess fluid. This will help lower the intraocular pressure that is causing the glaucoma. 
  3. Implantation: Depending on your case, the surgeon may need to implant a device to maintain the opening in the drainage channel and allow extra fluid to drain out, lowering your eye pressure.
  4. Suture: Once the procedure is complete, stitches will be used to close the incision.

You will need to rest for a few days after surgery, avoiding certain physical activities. However, full recovery may take several months. Your doctor may prescribe eye drops and will suggest you attend follow-up appointments to monitor your case.

Living with Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a life-long condition that has no cure. However, several lifestyle changes can help you manage its symptoms; these include:

  • Perform physical exercise regularly.
  • Have regular eye examinations. 
  • Lower your caffeine intake.
  • Drink fluids slowly.
  • Wear protective glasses when performing outdoor activities.
  • Do not rub your eyes.
  • Quit smoking. 
  • Have a healthy diet rich in vitamins and minerals.

Glaucoma Treatment in New York

EyesNY offers treatment to help patients dealing with glaucoma and other optic nerve problems. Our specialized team of ophthalmologists is ready to assess your needs and give you the high-quality vision care you deserve. 

We work with cutting-edge technology to identify the root cause of your condition and create personalized treatment plans. Our caring staff is ready to welcome you and meet your ocular health and vision needs. 

We offer comprehensive eye care services, including treatment for glaucoma and other types of optic nerve problems.

If you’d like a consultation or more information, contact us, request an appointment online, or visit our clinics. We have multiple locations around New York, including Malta, Clifton Park, Troy, Saratoga Springs, and Queensbury.

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658 Malta Ave., Ste 101
Malta, NY 12020

Phone: (518) 580-0553

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Saratoga Springs
414 Maple Ave Ste 200
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866

Phone: (518) 580-0553

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Clifton Park
1712 U.S. 9
Clifton Park, NY 12065

Phone: (518) 580-0553

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535 Bay Road
Queensbury, NY 12804

Phone: (518) 580-0553

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2200 Burdett Street Ste 206
Troy, NY 12180

Phone: (518) 580-0553

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