Glaucoma Medications and Surgery
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. Left untreated, glaucoma often causes blindness. The best way to avoid the negative consequences of this disease is to undergo regular glaucoma examinations. Our practice, based in Phoenix, Arizona, has locations throughout the state where you can talk to an experienced optometrist or ophthalmologist and learn more about glaucoma treatment options.
Types of Glaucoma
Though all glaucoma is caused by increased pressure in the eye, different types of the condition can yield different symptoms and levels of severity. Below are descriptions of two of the most common types of glaucoma.
Primary Open-Angle Glaucoma
The most common type of glaucoma affecting our Phoenix, Arizona, patients is called chronic glaucoma, or primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG). In a normally operating eye, fluid called aqueous humor continually flows through the eye, eventually exiting through tissue known as the trabecular meshwork. In an eye affected by chronic glaucoma, this meshwork becomes blocked or clogged and fluid is unable to flow out of the eye. Intraocular pressure increases, pushing against the optic nerve and causing peripheral vision loss.
Angle-closure glaucoma, or narrow-angle glaucoma, occurs suddenly and presents symptoms such as headaches, eye pain, haloes around lights, and nausea. This type of disease occurs when fluid in the eye is suddenly kept from draining properly due to blockage or over-dilated pupils. Though symptoms may disappear, seek medical treatment as soon as possible. Each renewed attack destroys more of your sight. Fortunately, there is a treatment, or laser therapy called LPI to completely eliminate the risk of this ever developing.
Causes of Glaucoma
The most prevalent cause of glaucoma is age. It is estimated that one percent of Americans between the ages of 60 and 80 suffer from primary open-angle glaucoma; this number jumps to three percent in people over the age of 80. Ethnic background also plays a large role in glaucoma development. African-Americans have a high risk of developing glaucoma, as do people of Irish, Scandinavian, or Russian heritage.
Medical conditions such as extreme nearsightedness and diabetes have a hand in glaucoma risk. Our Phoenix, Arizona, doctors will also ask you about your medications during your examination, as certain inhaled or oral steroids may increase the chances of developing glaucoma.
Treatment for Glaucoma
If you are diagnosed with glaucoma at one of the Arizona locations of Barnet Dulaney Perkins Eye Center, we will attempt to control the disease with medications that either decrease the amount of fluid produced by the eye or increase the amount of fluid that drains from the eye. If these medications do not adequately treat your glaucoma, your doctor may suggest surgery to increase the drainage flow.