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Glaucoma is a condition caused by elevated pressure inside the eye. That pressure can damage the optic nerve, which is the pathway from your eyes to your brain, and that can in turn, lead to blindness.
While there is no cure for glaucoma, if detected early, it can be effectively managed to prevent vision loss.
At University of Maryland Eye Associates, our glaucoma specialists are experts at diagnosing and treating glaucoma and see patients at locations throughout Maryland. To make an appointment, call 667-214-1111.
Often referred to as a silent blinder, glaucoma often doesn't show symptoms until it's too late. That's why early detection is critical. If symptoms do appear, it starts with loss of peripheral vision. Central vision loss usually occurs when the disease is already in advanced stages.
Glaucoma generally develops so slowly that you don't notice its effects until it's in the advanced stages. This is why regular eye exams are so important.
Every year your eye doctor will do a check of the eye pressure, central and peripheral vision, dilated eye exam and photographs of the optic nerve.
Risks for developing this disease include:
- Family history of glaucoma
- Age (the older you are, the more likely you are to develop it)
- History of trauma
- High blood pressure
- Use of steroids or a headache medication called Topamax
Treatment can vary from eye drops to laser treatment to surgery. Depending on the stage of your glaucoma, all of these treatments may be beneficial. The goal of all treatment is the same: decreasing pressure in the eye.
Eye Drops for Glaucoma
Eye drops are usually the first treatment option for glaucoma. It is usually an effective, low-cost treatment.
Laser Treatment for Glaucoma
Lasers are usually an in-office procedure, so it's different from surgery. During laser treatment, your doctor increases the drainage from the eye to reduce the pressure.
During the procedure, we put a lens on the patient's eye and a concentrate a laser on it for about five minutes. This usually doesn't hurt at all. Patients can go home soon after the procedure and come back about a week later for follow-up care.
Laser treatment is safe and effective, and it can keep patients from having to use eye drops for a few months or years.
Minimally Invasive Procedures
University of Maryland Eye Associates uses all the latest minimally invasive glaucoma procedures for mild to moderate glaucoma. Advantages of minimally invasive options include fewer incisions and quicker recovery. Options include:
- Kahook Dual Blade
- XEN Gel Stent
Traditional Glaucoma Surgery
Glaucoma surgery, called trabeculectomy is indicated in moderate or advanced cases. During surgery, we create a drainage system to relieve pressure in the eye.
The surgery lasts about 1 hours. Recovery for this type of surgery is longer than laser treatment, but the effects are longer lasting. You should expect a couple weeks of downtime after the surgery. Sometimes it can take 6 weeks to reach maximum recovery. Patients usually go back to work within a couple days.
Aqueous tube shunts are also an option for patients with moderate to advanced glaucoma. During this procedure, we implant a drainage device into the eye. The recovery is similar to that for a trabeculectomy.