At Georgia Eye Physicians and Surgeons, we help patients suffering from a wide variety of eye problems, ranging from relatively routine refractive errors to extremely aggressive diseases that could potentially result in permanent vision loss. Among the most serious of these issues is glaucoma, a condition that affects more than 60 million people worldwide. Glaucoma occurs when the flow of the aqueous humor, which is supposed to cycle constantly through the eye’s anterior chamber, is somehow obstructed. Unable to drain properly, this fluid starts to build up, increasing the eyes’ internal pressure to the point that it begins to damage the optic nerve. In the early stages, glaucoma affects the peripheral, or side, vision and many fail to notice that anything is wrong until a significant portion of the vision has already been lost. Unfortunately, there is no cure for glaucoma, and damage that has already been caused to the ocular nerve cannot be fixed. However, if the condition is discovered early on, usually during a regularly scheduled comprehensive eye examination, there are several treatment options that may be able to control its progression and keep vision loss to a minimum.
The simplest and least-invasive method for treating glaucoma involves the use of various prescription medications, in pill or eye drop form, that work by either reducing the production of fluid in the eye or increasing the rate at which that fluid drains. However, such medications can be inconvenient for certain patients, since they need to be taken between two and four times daily and, like all medications, may potentially produce undesirable side effects.
New Research Study
Recently, Georgia Eye Physicians and Surgeons, P.C. was honored to be the only practice in Georgia chosen to participate in a year-long research study testing the effectiveness of a new form of glaucoma treatment. Specifically, we will determine how well a new medication, in the form of a drop or pellet injected directly into the eye, can provide long-term control of intraocular pressure as opposed to other, more traditional, surgical procedures. If successful, this quick and simple treatment could potentially provide relief for months or even years after only a single office visit. If you would like to learn more about this exciting new treatment option, please call our office at (678) 584-0400 and get all the details.
Laser Therapy Treatments
For patients who do not respond to medications, Dr. William Segal can perform a procedures called a selective laser trabeculoplasty using our advanced Lumenis® SLT laser. This low-intensity, precision laser removes a portion of the spongy trabecular meshwork, through which the aqueous humor passes as it drains from the eye. This can effectively “unclog the drain,” allowing the aqueous humor to drain faster, lowering the eyes’ intraocular pressure, and ultimately preventing damage to the ocular nerve.
Drainage Implant Surgery
The most serious glaucoma cases may require the surgical implantation of an iStent® Trabecular Micro-Bypass, a tiny, L-shaped device, 20,000 times smaller than on intraocular lens, that bypasses the affected meshwork completely, creating a direct path for fluid to flow between the fluid-filled chamber of the front of the eye and the major collector channel that directs the fluid out of the eye. The surgical procedure to implant the iStent® device is similar to that used for intraocular lens replacement surgery to treat cataracts, and the device itself is so small that it cannot be seen or felt after the procedure. In a United States Clinical Study, 68 percent of patients who received the iStent® remained medication free for 12 months, visual acuity significantly improved, and no complications from the surgery were observed.
At Georgia Eye, we are constantly exploring new and advanced treatments for the many conditions that can negatively affect eyesight in order to provide our patients with the safest, most effective options available. If you would like to learn more about treatments for glaucoma, or if you have any other questions or concerns about your vision, please contact Georgia Eye Physicians and Surgeons to schedule an eye exam with Dr. William Segal or Dr. Marc Lay today. Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for more information on how to keep your vision clear and healthy.