Glaucoma Specialists in North Carolina
Serving Charlotte, Indian Land, Matthews, Monroe & Rock Hill
Glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness in people over 60 years old. It is a disease of the optic nerve. The nerve is damaged over time due to elevated eye pressure. The nerve is made up of multiple fibers that carry signals from the eye directly to the brain. Damage to these fibers within the eye is permanent and cannot be reversed. The nerve fibers that carry peripheral vision are the first to be injured, thus patient will not likely notice early changes. By examining the eye, checking the eye pressure, and performing tests, the ophthalmologist can determine the extent of damage to the nerve.
Treatments For Glaucoma
Nerve damage can be prevented by lowering the eye pressure with a variety of treatments. There are three major ways to treat glaucoma, which include; laser surgery, pressure-lowering eye drops, and glaucoma surgery. As glaucoma specialists, we are trained in performing both laser and glaucoma surgery. The laser surgery is performed in the office using low-energy light to increase the flow of fluid out of the drain of the eye. The glaucoma surgeries are performed in the operating room. Glaucoma surgery includes placing a flap on the eye or a tube in the eye to decrease the eye pressure. There are also new treatments, including the iStent implant and ExPRESS mini-shunt. These are metal implants, which are less invasive and can allow for a quicker recovery.
Types Of Glaucoma
There are two major types of glaucoma: open angle glaucoma and angle-closure glaucoma. The angle is the drainage system of the eye. A patient with an open angle does not have any visual damage or blockage to the drainage system of the eye. A patient with angle-closure glaucoma can have a blockage of the drain by the iris or scarring of the drain. Approximately 1 in 3 patients with angle closure can have a sudden blockage of the drain. This sudden blockage can result in headaches, blurred vision, and in severe cases nausea and vomiting. It is key to lower the eye pressure using laser, eye drops and in some cases surgery.
Risks Factors For Glaucoma
Increased age is the leading risk factor for developing glaucoma. Glaucoma is also almost 4 times more common in patient with African descent due to increased likelihood of a thinner cornea and larger optic nerve. The other risk factors include steroid use, previous trauma, and migraines. Talk with the eye doctor regarding your family history of glaucoma, diabetes, and blindness.
Contact Metrolina Eye Associates
If you are interested in learning more about glaucoma treatment, please call or email Metrolina Eye Associates to schedule a consultation. We have four North Carolina locations in Charlotte, Matthews, and Monroe along with two South Carolina locations in Rock Hill and Indian Land. Our talented team would be happy to assist you with your eye care needs.
What Are the Symptoms of Glaucoma?
Patients that have glaucoma often experience no signs or symptoms until vision loss occurs. It is important to have regular eye exams to detect glaucoma so that your eye doctor can treat it before it affects your vision.
Can Glaucoma Be Prevented?
Results of studies are inconclusive as to whether glaucoma can be prevented. However, living a healthy lifestyle may help decrease the risk of the disease progressing.
Will Glaucoma Treatment Restore My Vision?
Unfortunately, glaucoma treatment does not restore vision loss caused by the disease. As stated above, it is vital to regularly see your eye doctor so they can treat your disease before it causes a reduction in your vision.
Can Glaucoma Patients Have LASIK Surgery?
Glaucoma patients are usually not appropriate candidates for LASIK surgery. Your eye doctor from Metrolina Eye Associates would be happy to discuss with you whether there are alternative vision correction procedures that may be right for you.