wright eye center

Glaucoma Management & Surgery

glaucoma

The American Academy of Ophthalmology defines glaucoma as "a group of diseases with certain common features including an intraocular pressure (IOP) that is too high for the continued health of the eye”. It was once thought that high IOP was the main cause of glaucoma.

Although IOP is clearly a major risk factor, we now know that other factors must also be involved because even people with "normal" IOP can experience vision loss from glaucoma. Loss of vision is caused by damage to the optic nerve. The optic nerve, exiting from the back of the eye, is actually a bundle of over a million nerve fibers and is responsible for carrying the images we see to the brain.

Glaucoma, if not treated, gradually whittles away at your peripheral vision without warning and usually without symptoms until you have nothing left but tunnel vision. After that, it is usually not long until all vision is lost. In the United States, approximately 2.2 million people age 40 and older have glaucoma, and of these, as many as 120,000 are blind due the disease. The number of Americans with glaucoma is estimated to increase to 3.3 million by the year 2020.

What are glaucoma symptoms & signs?

Patients with open-angle glaucoma and chronic angle-closure glaucoma in general have no symptoms early in the course of the disease. Visual field loss (side vision loss) is not a symptom until late in the course of the disease. Rarely patients with fluctuating levels of intra-ocular pressure may have haziness of vision and see haloes around lights, especially in the morning.

On the other hand, the symptoms of acute angle-closure are often extremely dramatic with the rapid onset of severe eye pain, headache, nausea and vomiting, and visual blurring. Occasionally, the nausea and vomiting exceed the ocular symptoms to the extent that an ocular cause is not contemplated.

The eyes of patients with open-angle glaucoma or chronic angle-closure glaucoma may appear normal in the mirror or to family or friends. Some patients get slightly red eyes from the chronic use of eyedrops. The ophthalmologist, on examining the patient, may find elevated intraocular pressure, optic-nerve abnormalities, or visual field loss in addition to other less common signs.

The eyes of patients with acute angle-closure glaucoma will appear red, and the pupil of the eye may be large and nonreactive to light. The cornea may appear cloudy to the naked eye. The ophthalmologist will typically find decreased visual acuity, corneal swelling, highly elevated intraocular pressure, and a closed drainage angle.

More Info About Glaucoma


Canaloplasty: New Innovations in Sight for Glaucoma Patients

glaucoma

Canaloplasty is a new glaucoma procedure designed to enhance and restore the eye’s natural drainage system to provide sustained reduction of intraocular pressure. Canaloplasty utilizes breakthrough microcathetertechnology in a minimally invasive procedure that can, in many cases, reduce the intraocular pressure by 30-50 percent.

Canaloplasty is an option for many of the 3 million American glaucoma patients whose glaucoma is not adequately controlled with or without medications, surgery, or laser treatments. Canaloplasty, in many cases, allows patients to become less dependent on costly glaucoma medications.

How is a canaloplasty performed?

To perform a canaloplasty, your doctor will create a tiny incision to gain access to a canal in the eye.

A microcatheter will circumnavigate the canal around your iris, enlarging the main drainage channel and its smaller collector channels through the injection of a sterile, gel-like material called viscoelastic. The catheter is then removed and a suture is placed within the canal and tightened. This tightened suture ensures that the canal remains open. By opening the canal, the pressure inside your eye will be relieved.