What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma refers to a group of eye conditions in which increased fluid pressure inside the eye causes irreversible damage to the optic nerve. The optic nerve is responsible for carrying visual information from the eye to the brain. If left untreated, glaucoma will eventually lead to blindness. Glaucoma is the second most common cause of blindness in the United States, and first worldwide. Glaucoma can affect anyone at any age.
About the Disease
- A major risk factor for glaucoma is increased eye pressure that occurs when fluid in the eye that is used to transport nutrients to the lens and cornea – accumulates and cannot drain naturally.
- Over time the trapped fluid builds up, causing increased pressure in the eye, which can damage the optic nerve and destroy vision.
- The first sign of glaucoma is often loss of peripheral or side vision. Untreated glaucoma can lead to tunnel vision and eventually can cause total blindness.
Glaucoma can be grouped into two categories:
- Open-angle glaucoma – Represents the majority of all glaucoma cases. Open-angle glaucoma is asymptomatic – meaning it occurs without noticeable symptoms appearing – and can often go undiagnosed without proper checkups, and worsen over time.
- Angle – closure glaucoma – Less common but more severe, and is marked with a rapid rise in eye pressure and severe vision loss.
The four major types of glaucoma procedures are:
Open-angle procedures/glaucoma – This is a chronic condition found primarily in adults, which slowly and painlessly manifests over time. It is the most common form of the affliction.
Angle-closure procedures/glaucoma – This is an acute condition found primarily in adults, which requires emergency treatment.
Congenital procedures/glaucoma – This is a hereditary condition that is present at birth, causing abnormal development of the fluid channels in the eye.
- Secondary procedures/glaucoma – This is a systemic condition caused by other contributing factors such as drugs and other diseases.
While there is still no actual cure for glaucoma, Rapid City’s Black Hills Regional Eye Institute does offer treatment options to slow, stop, and in some cases reverse the effects of the disease.
The goal of any procedures/glaucoma treatment is to reduce eye pressure, as this is the inevitable cause of vision impairment. Depending on the type of procedures/glaucoma, medication and surgery are currently the only viable options. The most common treatment method prescribed is medicated eye drops, which reduce pressure and in some cases protect the optic nerve from further damage. Eye drops are usually prescribed to patients with open-angle and secondary procedures/glaucoma and in some cases angle-closure. For those suffering from angle-closure procedures/glaucoma, the pain caused by an attack will dictate emergency medical attention. If left untreated, angle-closure procedures/glaucoma can result in blindness in a matter of days. Medicated eye drops or pills may be prescribed, but in all likelihood, laser surgery will be necessary. Laser surgery for both angle-closure and congenital procedures/glaucoma reopens or creates new channels for fluid in the eye in order to reduce swelling.
Glaucoma and Cataract Surgery All At Once – iStent inject
Cataract surgery and glaucoma therapy – all in one procedure.
If you’ve been managing your glaucoma symptoms with medication, and are now preparing for cataract surgery, iStent inject may be an ideal option for you. Around the world, iStent inject has helped countless people with glaucoma successfully manage their intraocular pressure. By taking advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity during cataract surgery, you can address both of these conditions at the same time.
• In clinical trials, most patients are able to maintain normal eye pressure after the procedure1,2
• iStent inject has an excellent overall safety profile, similar to cataract surgery alone1
Tiny Implants, A Huge Impact.
iStent inject includes two tiny implants, which make up the world’s smallest medical device known to be implanted in the human body. Worldwide, Glaukos devices have been implanted in hundreds of thousands of eyes, with more patients benefiting from this technology every day.
iStent inject can make a huge impact for patients who receive it. Once implanted in the eye, the device can help restore normal pressure in the eye. iStent inject is designed to:
• Restore your eye’s natural ability to drain the fluid that causes the increased pressure inside your eye
• Keep eye pressure at a normal level
This may allow your doctor to reduce or eliminate your need for glaucoma medication.
How iStent inject Works
iStent inject includes two tiny implants, each made of surgical titanium. Once implanted, you will not be able to see or feel the tiny stents.
To help control the increased pressure in your eye associated with glaucoma, iStent inject creates two bypasses, or openings, between the front part of your eye and its natural drainage pathway to increase the flow of fluid. By creating the permanent bypasses through the primary blockage site (trabecular meshwork), iStent inject is designed to:
• Improve your eye’s natural outflow to safely lower intraocular pressure
• Work continuously to improve the natural flow of fluid in your eyes
Learn More about Glaucoma
While there may be no permanent cure for any type of procedures/glaucoma, there is no reason to forgo treatment in lieu of vision impairment and eventual blindness. The Eye Institute offers a variety of treatments for all types of the eye condition. Please contact us today to schedule your personal consultation with one of our physicians; the sooner your procedures/glaucoma is diagnosed, the better chance there is of improving, and ultimately saving your vision.