More than 3 million Americans are affected by glaucoma. At the Colorado Eye Institute, our doctors are experienced in the latest technologies and we offer a variety of surgical and non-surgical treatments.
What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a progressive eye disease that damages the optic nerve. Because the optic nerve transmits information from your eye to your brain, glaucoma can result in a gradual, irreversible loss of vision and may eventually lead to blindness. Although there are different types of glaucoma, high intraocular pressure (IOP) — also referred to as high eye pressure — is often present and is one of several risk factors for glaucoma. However, many patients with glaucoma do not have high IOP – which is why a comprehensive eye exam, including an examination of the optic nerve, is important for early diagnosis.
There is no treatment for glaucoma; however, there are several types of treatments intended to lower intraocular pressure (IOP): medication, laser procedures, and surgery.
Open-angle glaucoma treatment often starts with prescription eye drops to help lower IOP. Your doctor may prescribe a single eye drop or a combination. You may need more than one medication to keep your eye pressure in an ideal range. If eye drops don’t seem to be effective in lowering IOP, a laser treatment is a common alternative.
There are different types of laser procedures, but they all apply a small beam of light to the eye’s drainage system. This allows fluid to flow out of the eye. If the laser treatment does not bring the IOP in an ideal range or the pressure starts to rise again, the doctor may recommend surgery.
There are many different ways to lower IOP. If you’re a candidate for surgery, you may want to discuss the alternatives with your doctor. Here are a few of them:
Tube Shunts – small tubes made of silicone or other materials are surgically inserted into the eye to provide an alternative pathway for fluid (aqueous) to drain.
Filtration Devices – uses a shunt to divert fluid i.e Xen Gel Stent and iStent.
For more information about glaucoma and/or glaucoma surgery, please call 719-258-1240 to schedule your examination.