Glaucoma is a disease of the optic nerve, which is the part of the eye that carries images we see from the eye to the brain. The optic nerve is made up of many nerve fibers (like an electrical cable containing numerous wires). Glaucoma damages nerve fibers, which can cause blind spots in our vision and vision loss to develop.
Glaucoma has to do with the pressure inside the eye or intraocular pressure (IOP). When the clear liquid called the aqueous humor, which normally flows in and out of the eye, cannot drain properly, pressure builds up in the eye. The resulting increase in IOP can damage the optic nerve. Dr. Greenberg may tell you that you are at risk for glaucoma if you have one or more risk factors, including an elevated IOP, family history of glaucoma, a particular ethnic background, advanced age, or certain optic nerve conditions.
If you are at risk for glaucoma, regular eye examinations and specialized testing including visual fields, Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT), disc photographs, and pachymetry are important methods in detecting the earliest signs of change, helping to preserve your vision.
The most common form of glaucoma is primary open-angle glaucoma, where the aqueous fluid that normally circulates in the front portion of the eye is blocked from flowing back out of the eye through a tiny drainage system. This causes the pressure inside your eye to increase, which can damage the optic nerve and lead to vision loss. Most people who develop primary open-angle glaucoma notice no symptoms until their vision is impaired.
Glaucoma can be treated in several ways, including topical eye medications, oral medications, or laser treatments to lower the intraocular pressure of the eye. There are also surgical techniques if the aforementioned treatments fail.
The Argon laser is a special beam of light. When it is focused on the fluid drainage area of the eye, it makes very small openings to enable the fluid to drain more effectively to lower the eye pressure. The procedure is performed in four stages to prevent eye pressure from temporarily spiking. We can perform this procedure in our office.