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Glaucoma “The Silent Thief of Sight”

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glaucomaNeil Atodaria, MD

What is glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a term used to describe a group of eye conditions in which the optic nerve is damaged due to an increase in pressure within the eye. While glaucoma is treatable, there is no cure.

Why is it important to be aware of glaucoma?

The permanent vision loss associated with glaucoma can develop so gradually patients are rarely aware that it is happening. As a result, glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness and is known as “the silent thief of sight.” Early detection is the key to slowing the progression of glaucoma.

How do doctors test for glaucoma?

The main tests that are used to help a doctor diagnose, treat, and monitor glaucoma include visual field testing, optic nerve photographs and optical coherence topography (OCT) images of the nerve fiber layer. These tests are repeated to determine if a patient’s glaucoma is adequately treated or if they require additional intraocular pressure reduction. It is critical that a doctor use these tests in addition to eye pressure measurements to correctly diagnose glaucoma.

How is glaucoma treated?

The first line of treatment is the use of medicinal eye drops. The next most common therapy is an outpatient laser procedure known as Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT), which is performed within a few minutes using only eye-numbing drops. When medications and laser treatment fail to lower eye pressure adequately, there are surgical procedures that can be attempted. The advent of Micro-Invasive Glaucoma Surgery (MIGS), the placement of microstent into the eye’s drainage system, provides a new treatment option for glaucoma patients who are also considering cataract surgery.

Dr. Neil Atodaria, a board-certified, fellowship-trained glaucoma expert at Barnet Dulaney Perkins Eye Center, specializes in the management of cataracts in patients who also suffer from glaucoma.

 

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