Vision-Saving Glaucoma Treatments
Glaucoma, a group of eye disorders that damage the eye’s optic nerve, is a leading cause of irreversible blindness in the United States. In fact, more than 3 million Americans are living with glaucoma, however it’s estimated that less than half know it. Our specialized team of physicians offer some of the most medically advanced procedures available to ensure all patients who are struggling with glaucoma maintain their healthy vision and live a life free of worry.
What is Glaucoma?
The production and movement of intraocular fluid in your eye is an active, continuous process. When someone has glaucoma, that process becomes disrupted and intraocular fluid can build up in your eye, causing increased eye pressure. Over time, this increased pressure in your eye can damage the optic nerve fibers and result in permanent vision loss. Unfortunately, there are no ways to reverse the damage done to your vision due to glaucoma.
How Can I Tell if I Have Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is asymptomatic, which means that most people will see no signs or symptoms of the disease or notice any loss of vision, especially in the early stages. If glaucoma remains untreated, you may notice that although you see objects clearly in front of you, objects to the side of you or out of the corner of your eye are easily missed. Eventually, without proper treatment, a patient with glaucoma may find that their entire peripheral vision (or side vision) has been lost.
Understanding if you are at risk and taking the necessary step of scheduling a glaucoma screening are the first steps in addressing glaucoma.
Risk factors for glaucoma include:
- Individuals with a family history of glaucoma
- Anyone over the age of 50
- People of African American descent that are over the age of 40
- People of Hispanic/Latin descent that are over the age of 40
- Those who are severely nearsighted
- Individuals with high intra-ocular pressure
- People with a history of eye injury or trauma
Treating Glaucoma with Drops
When it comes to treating glaucoma, one of the first lines of defense are glaucoma drops. These topical medications are used to treat elevated pressure inside the eye and can be effective in delaying the onset of glaucoma. Glaucoma drops work in two different ways, by managing the flow of intraocular fluid or by suppressing the amount of intraocular fluid. When used as directed by your eye doctor, eye drops can help lower your eye pressure. Compliance is extremely important when using glaucoma medications.
However, there are several instances in which glaucoma drops may become ineffective. A patient may struggle with tolerance to the drops, the cost of glaucoma drops may be too high, or compliance to a strict drop regimen can prove too cumbersome. When this happens, Wilmington Eye offers several alternative options, both in-office procedures and minimally invasive glaucoma surgeries (commonly referred to as MIGS), that can help save your vision and eliminate the use of glaucoma drops.
In-Office Glaucoma Treatments
Our board-certified ophthalmic surgeons specialize in the latest in-office glaucoma procedures that eliminate the need for costly hospital visits and ensure you receive lasting results and more sustainable treatments. From lasers to implantable devices that automatically administer vision-saving medication, our experts can find the right glaucoma solution for your needs.
Durysta—Our Newest Glaucoma Offering
Smaller than the size of the “I” in the world liberty on a dime, Durysta is a dissolvable implant that offers continuous release of vision-saving glaucoma drops for up to 2 years. The procedure is done in-office with topical anesthetic and takes about 5 minutes for the implantation. Once implanted in the eye, you no longer have to self-administer glaucoma drops. This sustained release drug delivery system provides an excellent alternative treatment option for glaucoma patients who have difficulty with tolerance to topical medication, or struggle with cost or compliance of their glaucoma drops.
Our glaucoma specialist with more than 10 years of experience treating patients with glaucoma, Dr. Robert van der Vaart, discusses this new FDA-approved implant.
Other in-office glaucoma procedures we offer include:
- Laser peripheral iridotomy
- Argon Laster Trabeculoplasty
- Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty
- YAG PI
Minimally-Invasive Glaucoma Surgeries
When a patient is suffering from a very aggressive form of glaucoma, oftentimes more specialized forms of treatment are required. Our board-certified ophthalmic surgeons offer a wide range of minimally-invasive glaucoma surgeries (MIGS) that provide patients with life-changing results that are often the last safeguard to save their vision.
Our glaucoma experts offer two types of glaucoma stents that help to decrease a patient’s risk for vision loss due to glaucoma, the iStent and Hydrus Microstent. Both surgeries are performed in conjunction with cataract surgery and are NOT performed independent of your cataract surgery. The iStent and Hydrus Microstent are used in the treatment of mild to moderate glaucoma. Both are small stents that are inserted into the angle of the eye and help to move fluid from the front of the eye, lowering intraocular pressure (IOP) and decreasing a patient’s risk for vision loss. These very small stents—the Hydrus Microstent is approximately 8mm long—provide aid to the draining system of the eye.
Other minimally-invasive glaucoma surgeries we offer include:
- Omni Canaloplasty
- Kahook Dual Blade
- Xen Gel Stent
- Ahmed Tube Shunt
- Micropulse CPC
Glaucoma is often referred to as the silent thief because people do not realize they have glaucoma until their vision has been impacted. To ensure the health of your vision, we recommend patients have an annual eye exam. Your eye doctor will monitor the pressure in your eye and develop a treatment plan best suited to your specific needs.