Glaucoma is a disease of the eye that damages the optic nerve. As reported by the National Institute of Health (NIH) U.S. National Library of Medicine, it is a leading cause of blindness in the U.S.A.
Glaucoma is an insidious disease, as often there are no obvious symptoms in the initial stages. At Lotus Vision, we serve Alpharetta and the Atlanta, Georgia area, providing arguably the highest, state-of-the-art glaucoma treatment Atlanta has available as well as high-quality care for our glaucoma patients.
How Does Glaucoma Develop?
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness in men and women over the age of 60. It occurs when fluid builds up in the front area of the eye. Excess fluid increases pressure in the eye, leading to damage to the optic nerve.
What Are the Different Types of Glaucoma?
There are two major forms of glaucoma: open-angle glaucoma and narrow-angle (angle-closure) glaucoma. Both can be treated successfully with early detection and prompt medical care.
Symptoms of Open-Angle Glaucoma
Symptoms of open-angle glaucoma appear gradually. When the condition is left untreated, people slowly lose peripheral vision, and feel as if they are looking through a tunnel. Eventually, vision decreases in the central area, ultimately resulting in blindness.
Glaucoma is called the “silent thief of sight” because there are no warning signs in the early stages. Fortunately, open-angle glaucoma can be detected early with regular comprehensive exams. At-risk women and men should have an exam at least once every year.
Although there is no cure for open-angle glaucoma, most cases can be controlled. If you should develop this disease, early diagnosis and treatment can help protect you against a total loss of vision. Our glaucoma treatment in Atlanta may involve eye drops, oral medications, laser treatment, or surgery.
Those at risk for open-angle glaucoma may include:
- People over the age of 60
- African American men and women over the age of 40
- People who have a family history of glaucoma
- Women and men with diabetes and other systemic conditions and diseases, especially if treated with steroids
- People who have suffered eye trauma or undergone previous eye surgery
Symptoms of Narrow-Angle Glaucoma
Symptoms of a narrow-angle glaucoma attack include:
- Suddenly blurry or decreased vision
- Severe eye pain or forehead pain
- Redness of the eye
- Seeing rainbow-colored rings or halos around lights
Certain individuals have a higher risk of developing narrow-angle glaucoma. Risk factors include:
- Iris that is abnormally large or set far back in the eye
- Extreme farsightedness
- Advanced age
- Certain ethnicities, particularly Asian
Normal Tension Glaucoma and Glaucoma Suspects
Some people have eye pressure within a normal range but still show signs of glaucoma. These symptoms may include optic nerve damage and blind spots in the field of vision. This condition is known as normal tension glaucoma.
Others have abnormally high pressure in the eye (ocular hypertension) but no signs of glaucoma damage. These men and women are considered glaucoma suspects. They should be carefully monitored by an ophthalmologist, as they have a higher risk of developing glaucoma.
What Are the Treatment Options for Glaucoma?
A wide range of glaucoma treatments are available. Our skilled ophthalmologist and eye surgeon in Alpharetta, Georgia will custom-tailor a treatment plan for you, based on the form of glaucoma and your individual needs with arguably the best glaucoma treatment Atlanta has available. Treatment may include:
- Prescription eyedrops to reduce eye pressure
- Oral medications to reduce fluid production within the eye (carbonic anhydrase inhibitors)
- Laser treatment
- Traditional eye surgery
What Types of Laser Treatments Are Used for Glaucoma?
Two main types of laser procedures are used to treat glaucoma. Both are performed on an outpatient basis to help drain aqueous humor from the eye.
This procedure is performed on patients who have narrow-angle glaucoma. It involves use of a laser to create a tiny hole in the iris. This allows fluid to flow to the drainage angle to relieve and prevent the build-up of pressure in the eye.
Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty
Selective laser trabeculoplasty (SLT) is a safe, simple, in-office procedure proven to effectively reduce intraocular pressure (IOP) in individuals with open-angle glaucoma. It has been shown to lower IOP as effectively as medication and to be efficacious at every stage of glaucoma treatment.
This technique uses a laser to treat the drainage system of the eye, improving the flow of fluid from the eye and reducing intraocular pressure. It is not to be confused with argon laser trabeculoplasty (ALT), which can cause damage to the trabecular meshwork or TM (the drainage system of the eye).
SLT may be the best treatment option for patients who are inconsistent in using medications. It can be used in combination with medications, or as an alternative to drugs or surgery. It can deliver effective control of intraocular pressure without the side effects associated with medications.
Dr. Nemi at Lotus Vision in Alpharetta, Georgia has extensive training and experience in performing selective laser trabeculoplasty for men and women with the most common type of glaucoma. Benefits of this treatment include:
- Lowers IOP as effectively as medication
- Gentle, non-surgical treatment that can be repeated
- Effective first-line therapy for patients who have difficulty using medications as prescribed
- Alternative treatment option when medication is not well tolerated
- Effective treatment in combination with medications
- Does not cause permanent damage to the structure of the trabecular meshwork