Glaucoma is a condition in which the pressure of fluid inside the eye, also known as the intraocular pressure, increases and threatens a patient’s vision. If the condition is not corrected, the pressure can become high enough to damage the optic nerve and possibly lead to total blindness.
The main symptom is loss of vision, but fortunately glaucoma can often be detected with a general eye exam prior to any irreversible damage. This is another reason why annual eye exams are essential to maintaining good eye health and vision. Risk factors for glaucoma can include but are not limited to a family history of the condition, chronic high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, use of corticosteroids, and previous eye trauma.
The most common treatment for glaucoma is medicated eye drops, which lower the patient’s eye pressure to a healthy level. These drops may include:
- Prostaglandins, which increase the outflow of fluid in the patient’s eye
- Beta Blockers, which reduce how much fluid the eye produces
- Alpha-adrenergic agnoists, which reduce the production of aqueous humor and increase fluid outflow
- Miotic/cholinergic agents, which increase the eye’s outflow of fluid
A combination of these medications might also be used as an effective treatment.
For moderate to severe glaucoma, oral medications may be prescribed to bring down the intraocular pressure of the eye. If eye drops and oral medications are unsuccessful, laser eye surgery or other types of conventional surgery may be necessary.
Dr. Guglielmetti uses the express implant by Alcon Laboratories in order to lower the intraocular pressure if medication is unable to achieve satisfactory intraocular pressure control. The express implant is less invasive and has been clinically proven to be superior to conventional glaucoma surgery.
Glaucoma and Vision Correction
Glaucoma does not completely prevent someone from receiving refractive surgery for vision correction, but the condition should be treated and corrected before the surgery takes place. It does create more risk for laser eye surgeries such as LASIK or wavefront LASIK, but patients who have a somewhat high intraocular pressure can consider types of PRK or LASEK procedures as a possibility.
Dr. Guglielmetti is also a renowned cataract surgeon. He has spent many years performing intricate surgeries and studying the latest techniques to give the best care to his patients.