Glaucoma is a condition that damages the eye’s optic nerve, which can lead to vision loss and even blindness. In fact, Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness both in the United States and worldwide.
While there is currently no cure for glaucoma, early diagnosis and treatment can dramatically slow the progression of the condition. Comprehensive eye exams are a crucial part of early detection, as they allow ophthalmologists to spot changes in eye pressure and other visual issues.
Call 732-349-5622 today to schedule your eye exam with our experienced ophthalmologists. Treating glaucoma is one of our biggest priorities at Susskind & Almallah Eye Associates. We proudly welcome patients from across New Jersey at our convenient Manalapan Township, Toms River, Brick, and Barnegat locations.
What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is linked to excess pressure inside the eye, known as intraocular pressure. Elevated pressure is often due to a buildup of fluid in the eye. When the pressure gets too high, the optic nerve can become damaged. The optic nerve is responsible for transmitting images to the brain.
There are two main types of glaucoma:
- Primary open-angle glaucoma: Open-angle glaucoma is the blockage of the eye's drainage system called the "trabecular meshwork." This creates a slow rise in the eye's intraocular pressure, which in turn puts pressure on the optic nerve fibers. This is the most common form of glaucoma, which is often painless and does not initially cause any visual changes.
- Angle-closure glaucoma: This less common form of glaucoma occurs when the iris suddenly blocks the drainage angle in the eye. Eye pressure rises quickly when the drainage angle is completely blocked. Angle-closure glaucoma is a medical emergency that can result in sudden pain, foggy vision, and even blindness if not treated quickly.
Other types of glaucoma include normal tension glaucoma, which occurs when the eye pressure is in a normal range, and congenital glaucoma, which is rare and affects infants.
Symptoms of Glaucoma
Glaucoma is sometimes referred to as the silent thief of sight because the condition does not often present symptoms in its early stages. As open-angle glaucoma progresses, you may begin to notice blind spots in your peripheral vision. However, most people do not notice visual changes until the damage is somewhat severe.
People who experience an angle-closure glaucoma attack may experience any of the following:
- Intense pain in the eye or forehead
- Blurry or limited vision
- Visual halos or rainbows
- Eye redness
Glaucoma Risk Factors
Glaucoma often affects people who are over the age of 40, though the condition can develop at any age. Several factors may put you at a higher than average risk of developing glaucoma.
These risk factors include:
- Having a family history of glaucoma
- Being of African, Hispanic, or Asian heritage
- Having high eye pressure
- Having refractive vision errors
- Sustaining an eye injury
- Having thin corneas
- Having diabetes
Our ophthalmologists can discuss your risk of getting glaucoma and help develop an effective schedule for your routine eye exams.
Glaucoma Treatment Options
Glaucoma treatment often begins with eye drops. When used as prescribed, these drops can help reduce intraocular pressure. By keeping eye pressure at an appropriate level, the risk of vision loss is reduced.
Some drops may reduce the production of fluid in the eye, while others are used to improve or reverse the flow of fluid through the eye.
XEN® Gel Stent
The XEN® Gel stent procedure is FDA-approved for the treatment of glaucoma and it has an impressive record of success. This sutureless procedure is less invasive than other methods, while still offering a comparable lowering of intra-ocular pressure.
Dr. Almallah, who is always on the cutting edge of new technology, was the first Ophthalmologist in Toms River, NJ to implant the XEN Gel stent in a glaucoma patient.
The procedure is quite simple and it is completed as follows:
- The stent, a remarkably tiny instrument about the length of a single eyelash, is placed under the conjunctiva, which is the thin membrane covering the white of your eye.
- Once the stent is placed, it provides a channel for the drainage of fluid and the relief of ocular pressure. The stent is designed to remain in your eye permanently. In most cases, you won't have to worry about coming back for a replacement surgery or any other similar procedure.
By creating a filter to relieve and control built-up ocular pressure, the XEN® Gel stent addresses glaucoma, arresting its progression and protecting your vision. The placement of the stent is quite safe and simple and can be performed on an out-patient basis.
You will need to return to our office for regularly scheduled examinations as we'll have to keep an eye on your ocular pressure to ensure the stent is working as it is supposed to.
Canaloplasty is another advanced, minimally-invasive surgical procedure that can effectively lower eye pressure. During canaloplasty, a small tube is strategically placed in the natural drainage site of the eye to enlarge the canal and relieve intraocular pressure. This procedure restores the natural ocular outflow in your eyes.
While a trabeculectomy, a traditional glaucoma surgery, creates a blister-like collection of fluid called a “bleb,” a canaloplasty does not. This allows patients to avoid the potential complications and post-operative issues that are associated with blebs.
Schedule Your Glaucoma Examination Today
With any type of glaucoma, it is in your best interest to catch the condition early. Please call 732-349-5622 or contact us online to schedule a comprehensive eye examination. We have offices in Manalapan Township, Toms River, Brick, and Barnegat for the convenience of our New Jersey patients.