Glaucoma Treatment in Wilmington, NC
Nicknamed “The Silent Thief of Sight,” glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that damage the optic nerve, which carries information from the eye to the brain. Some cases of untreated glaucoma can lead to irreversible vision loss without causing any noticeable symptoms. By the time someone notices they have glaucoma, it may be too late to reclaim their lost vision.
However, with early detection and appropriate treatment, glaucoma can be well controlled, and vision loss can be prevented. At Intracoastal Eye, Dr. Gregory Johnson treats and manages cases of glaucoma in Wilmington, N.C., also serving the surrounding areas.
Glaucoma occurs when the pressure inside the eye rises above a normal level. In a healthy eye, there is a delicate balance between the aqueous humor fluid circulating in the front of the eye and the outflow of fluid through the eye. Ideally, as new fluid is produced and enters the eye, the same amount of fluid should leave the eye through the drainage angle located between the iris and the cornea. This helps maintain a steady amount of pressure inside the eye.
But when the drainage angle becomes clogged or blocked, fluid is unable to leave the eye, and the pressure inside the eye can become elevated. At a certain point, high levels of intraocular pressure cause damage to the optic nerve, located at the back of the eye.
There are two major types of glaucoma: open-angle glaucoma and angle-closure glaucoma. The great majority of glaucoma is of the open-angle variety.
Open-angle glaucoma develops slowly. The drainage angle contains tissue called trabecular meshwork that filters fluid from the eye. Sometimes the drainage angle becomes clogged, similar to a kitchen or shower drain, and fluid inside the eye has a hard time escaping. The fluid starts to build up, increasing the intraocular pressure. In most cases of open-angle glaucoma, there are no symptoms or warning signs at first. Slowly, blind spots can appear in the peripheral vision. But many people are unaware they have open-angle glaucoma until the disease has advanced considerably.
Angle-closure glaucoma can develop slowly or quickly. The drainage angle becomes completely blocked and fluid cannot leave the eye. Intraocular pressure can rise quite high, sometimes causing noticeable symptoms like blurred vision, eye pain, red eyes, headache, nausea and vomiting.
Treatment and Management of Glaucoma
The treatment and management of glaucoma depends on the type of the disease, butmost cases of glaucoma are managed with medicated eyedrops or laser treatment. Some eyedrops reduce the amount of fluid the eye produces, and others help improve the outflow of fluid through the drainage angle. These eyedrops may be used indefinitely and in conjunction with other treatments as needed.
Laser treatments are often very effective for treating glaucoma. Laser energy can be directed at the eye to improve the way fluid drains out of the eye, thus reducing intraocular pressure. Laser treatment for glaucoma is performed in Dr. Johnson’s office.
The most advanced cases of glaucoma require traditional surgery, either to create a new channel for fluid to leave the eye, or to implant a tiny surgical device that acts as a drainage tube.
Contact Intracoastal Eye
For more information about the treatment and management of glaucoma, please call (910) 777-8254 or email Dr. Johnson at Intracoastal Eye today.