TREATED IN DULUTH, GA (NORTH OF ATLANTA) at Georgia Eye Physicians & Surgeons
Second only to cataracts as a leading cause of permanent vision loss worldwide, glaucoma is among the most serious of vision problems. It is estimated that more than three million Americans currently have glaucoma, but that only about half of them are aware of it. This is because glaucoma tends to progress slowly, with few early symptoms. By the time your eyesight has been noticeably affected, you may have already started to experience permanent vision loss. The early detection of glaucoma is one of the most important reasons why everyone should undergo a comprehensive medical eye examination every one to two years, as recommended by the American Academy of Ophthalmology.
Glaucoma most commonly occurs when there is an increase in the pressure of the aqueous humor, a clear fluid that fills the space in the front of the eye between the lens and the cornea. Normally, this fluid circulates through a mesh-like channel where the cornea and iris meet. However, if this channel is blocked, the intraocular pressure builds up until it eventually causes damage to the ocular nerve itself. As the disease progresses patients will begin to lose their peripheral or side vision, but this may go unnoticed for some time. While the blockage is typically the result of an inherited defect in the structure of the eye, it may also be exacerbated by a severe injury to the eye, an eye infection, a blockage of the blood vessels in the eye, or high blood pressure.
Glaucoma can affect anyone of any age, but certain groups do seem to be at higher risk than others. Studies have found that glaucoma is six to eight times more common in African Americans than in Caucasians and that individuals over the age of sixty are up to six times more likely to develop the disease. Patients with severe myopia (nearsightedness), hypertension (high blood pressure), or who have used steroids also seem to have an increased risk.
There is currently no cure for glaucoma, but early detection and treatment can slow the progression of the disease and significantly reduce the chances of permanent eye damage. Prescription eye drops may sometimes be sufficient to control the progression of the condition, and Georgia Eye Physicians and Surgeons, P.C. was recently honored to be the only practice in Georgia chosen to participate in research study testing the effectiveness of a new form of glaucoma medication. More serious cases can be treated with the new Iridex CYCLO G6™ Glaucoma Laser System, the latest and most advanced glaucoma laser therapy technology, or the FDA-approved iStent® Trabecular Micro-Bypass medical device, which improves the eye’s natural outflow and lowers the fluid pressure in the eye.
For more information about the different glaucoma treatments that are available, or to schedule a routine or comprehensive medical eye exam, please contact Georgia Eye Physicians and Surgeons.