Early Treatment Can Minimize the Effects of Glaucoma
If your vision is threatened by glaucoma, Dr. Stephen Godlewski can provide personally tailored treatment to protect your eyesight. Glaucoma is a blanket term for several diseases that damage the eye’s optic nerve. Whether you need medicated eye drops or surgical intervention, Dr. Godlewski offers comprehensive care at his office in Snellville, GA. He can also coordinate treatment with the local hospital nearby, if necessary.
Understanding the Condition
Glaucoma refers to a group of diseases that can cause vision loss or blindness by damaging the optic nerve. One major cause of this damage is elevated eye pressure. Our eyes contain a space near the front called the anterior chamber. In order to maintain the health of your eye, a fluid flows in and out of the chamber to nourish nearby tissues. The fluid continually drains out of the eye through the area where the cornea and iris meet, also known as the drainage angle. Issues with your drainage angle or other parts of your eye’s anatomy can limit drainage and lead to glaucoma. With early glaucoma detection and treatment, it is possible to protect your eyes against severe vision loss.
The most common form of glaucoma is open-angle glaucoma. This condition occurs when the drainage angle of your eye remains “open,” but fluid drains too slowly. This fluid buildup increases the pressure inside your eye. Too much pressure can damage the optic nerve, leading to open-angle glaucoma and potential vision loss.
The second most common type of the condition is angle-closure glaucoma. Variants of these two types include secondary glaucoma, traumatic glaucoma, pigmentary glaucoma, and pseudoexfoliative glaucoma. Patients may also suffer from low-tension or normal-tension glaucoma, as well as a congenital form of the disease. Some of these conditions are considered medical emergencies and require immediate treatment to avoid complete vision loss.
In the beginning, open-angle glaucoma does not present any symptoms. Left untreated, patients may slowly lose their peripheral (side) vision. Over time, central vision may also decrease until vision is lost completely.
Anyone can develop glaucoma, though some individuals are at higher risk including:
African Americans over age 40
Patients over the age of 60
Those with a family history of glaucoma
Additional risk factors include high blood pressure, nearsightedness, very thin corneas, and abnormal optic nerve anatomy.
Dr. Godlewski performs comprehensive dilated eye exams to check for early signs of glaucoma. During this exam, he will measure your eye pressure, inspect your eye’s drainage angle, examine your optic nerve for damage, test your peripheral vision, and measure your optic nerve and the thickness of your cornea.
With early detection and treatment, it is possible to protect your eyes against severe vision loss caused by glaucoma.
If you are concerned about glaucoma, it is important to schedule an appointment with Dr. Godlewski immediately since vision loss cannot be restored. A complete eye exam is the only sure way to diagnose glaucoma and receive timely treatment.
There are several available treatments that can slow the progression of glaucoma and prevent severe vision loss. Early intervention is the best way to improve your outcome.
Eye drops are the most common recommendation for glaucoma treatment. If used consistently, medicated eye drops can lower eye pressure for most patients. Some medications can have side effects or stop working, but regular check-ups with Dr. Godlewski can help you manage your treatment effectively. It is also essential not to stop taking your medication without discussing it first with your doctor.
Surgical treatment may be the best option to treat some types of glaucoma as well as advanced cases. Some patients can undergo treatment on-site at our office or we may refer you to a nearby specialist.
There are two main types of surgical glaucoma treatment that are performed with specialized lasers. A trabeculoplasty can be effective for patients with open-angle glaucoma. This procedure improves the function of the drainage angle. An iridotomy is an emergency procedure for patients with angle-closure glaucoma and involves making a small hole in the iris to help fluid properly drain.
Successfully treating glaucoma is a team effort between you and your doctor. If you are concerned about your risk factors or are seeking treatment for glaucoma, contact us online. You can also call (770) 979-1144 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Godlewski.