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WHAT IS GLAUCOMA

Glaucoma is a disease which affects the optic nerve, which is the cable that connects the eye to the brain and transmits all the visual information.  Glaucoma is a disease where the eye pressure is usually too high and this damages the optic nerve.  However, one can have so-called “normal” pressures and still have glaucoma.  Vision loss occurs as a result of damage to the optic nerve.  The vision loss from glaucoma usually affects the peripheral vision first and the central vision last.  Because loss of peripheral vision can be hard for you to notice at first, you may have glaucoma and not even know it!  Experts estimate that only about half of the people with glaucoma know that they have it and are being treated for it.  Vision loss from glaucoma is permanent – once you lose it, you never get it back. 

Unfortunately, there is no cure for glaucoma, but it is definitely treatable.  If you have glaucoma, the best chance for you to retain useful vision for the remainder of your life is early detection and treatment.  The only way to diagnose glaucoma is for you to see a qualified ophthalmologist for examination and testing.

  Dr. Lee treats Glaucoma

WHO GETS GLAUCOMA?

  • Family History:  Glaucoma tends to run in families, but a lack of family history does not mean that you are exempt from getting this disease. 
  • Ethnicity:  Glaucoma is very common in people of African-American, Hispanic, and Asian descent. 
  • Age:  Glaucoma is more common as you get older.  It is 6 times more common after the age of 60.
  • Trauma:  Glaucoma is more common in eyes than have sustained injury.  The disease can even occur many years after the initial trauma.
  • Steroid use:  If you have taken steroid medications, such as pills, inhalers, or eye drops, then you may be at risk for glaucoma.
  • Systemic disease:  If you have hypertension, diabetes, or migraines, then you are more likely to have glaucoma.
  • Myopia:  If you are very near-sighted, then you have a higher risk for developing glaucoma.


If you think you may be at risk for glaucoma, please call our office and schedule a consultation.

HOW IS GLAUCOMA TREATED?

Treatment of glaucoma usually starts with eye drop medications.  If medications are not successful at controlling the glaucoma, laser and other surgical procedures may be of value in controlling the pressure and preventing further vision loss.  Both medications and surgery are designed to do one of two things: 1) decrease the amount of fluid production in the eye from the cells that make the fluid, or 2) help the fluid flow out of the eye.  

The types of glaucoma surgery that Dr. Lee offers include trabeculectomy, Express glaucoma shunt placement, and Ahmed glaucoma valve placement.  She also performs a wide variety of laser surgery for glaucoma, including iridectomy, trabeculoplasty, and cyclophotocoagulation.  To learn more about the different laser and surgical options that are available for the treatment of glaucoma, please contact our office and schedule a consultation.

Dr. Lillian Lee treats Glaucoma in Poway, CA

WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF GLAUCOMA?

There are many different types of glaucoma, but they can usually be divided into two main categories:  1) open-angle glaucoma, and 2) closed- or narrow-angle glaucoma.

Open angle glaucoma is the more common type in the United States, affecting roughly 3 million people.  This type of glaucoma occurs as a result of outflow mechanisms of the eye not working properly and so pressure builds up gradually in the eye.  However, there are some types of open-angle glaucoma where mechanisms other than the pressure damage the optic nerve.  So in these patients, the eye pressure is usually normal.  Open-angle glaucomas usually respond well to eye drop medications, especially when the disease is caught early and treated.

Closed- or narrow-angle glaucoma is less common here in the United States but is more likely to present with actual symptoms, such as glare at night, haloes around lights, nausea, vomiting, headache, redness of the eye, blurring of the vision.  This type of glaucoma results from narrowing of the outflow pathways inside the eye, such that fluid within the eye cannot find its way easily to the drain, resulting in sudden build-ups of eye pressure.  This sudden build-up of eye pressure results in symptoms.  This type of glaucoma can be brought on by many common medications, such as antihistamines and antidepressants.  The good thing about this type of glaucoma is that the narrowness of the eye can often be identified by an ophthalmologist before actual attacks of pressure occur, and attacks of pressure can be prevented by performing laser surgery on the eye at risk.  If you think you might be having attacks of closed-angle glaucoma, then please call our office and schedule a consultation.

 

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Lillian C. Lee, M.D. | (858) 451-8600