The eye care specialists at Lavenburg Medical group and the DelMar Surgical and Cosmetic Treatment Center monitor and treat glaucoma patients located in Wilmington and Newark, Delaware; Elkton and North East, Maryland and surrounding areas in Delaware, Maryland and southeast Pennsylvania.
How is glaucoma treated?
Glaucoma treatment is aimed at controlling the eye's fluid pressure, as a means of slowing the progression of the disease. Such treatment does not cure the disease. Most doctors use medications for newly diagnosed glaucoma; however, new research findings show that laser surgery is a safe and effective alternative.
Open-angle glaucoma treatments include:
Medications: Several medications, in the form of eye drops or pills, are available either to enhance fluid drainage or decrease the production of aqueous humor in the eye. Unfortunately, because anti-glaucoma drugs enter the blood system, they can cause various side effects such as headaches and respiratory problems. When such side effects occur, patients should consult with their eye care professional about alternative treatment regimens.
Laser Surgery: Glaucoma treatment using an argon laser has proved beneficial in preliminary studies. In this form of treatment, a high-energy beam of light is directed onto the trabecular meshwork--part of the eye's drainage system--and approximately 100 tiny burns are made on its surface. The burns stretch the existing holes in the meshwork for better fluid drainage. Laser surgery, however, may be effective for only a short time and usually is used in conjunction with drops.
Surgery: Several surgical procedures may be performed to improve drainage flow, such as a trabeculotomy, goniotomy, and trabeculectomy. All of these involve making a small hole in the anterior chamber through which fluid can leave the eye. Although these procedures have a fairly high success rate, they are generally reserved until medical therapy is no longer effective.
SLT: In traditional glaucoma treatments, eye drops or other medications are used to lower intraocular pressure by increasing drainage from the eye or by decreasing fluid production. With SLT, a specially designed laser is used to apply short pulses of low energy to stimulate and rejuvenate the body’s own tissue and cells to increase eye drainage and lower pressure.
I-Stent Treament: Manufactured by Glaukos, the iStent treats patients with open-angle glaucoma; or elevated intraocular pressure (IOP), inside the eye. The iStent lowers IOP by improving the outflow between the anterior chamber and the Schlemm’s canal in the eye.
What research is being conducted on glaucoma?
National Eye Institute-supported researchers are now studying the aging eye to delineate the exact sequence of biochemical events that cause open-angle glaucoma. By so doing, a clearer and more effective strategy can be developed to treat the disease. For example, long-term steroid treatment of ocular inflammation can cause an increase in fluid pressure. To understand this effect better, scientists recently developed a research model to study, step-by-step, how steroids influence intraocular pressure. In another study, these same investigators identified the major steroid-induced protein and cloned its gene. In the future, the researchers will attempt to clarify the biochemical switch(es) regulating these genes and gain greater insight into elevated fluid pressure, a feature common to all glaucomas.
Basic studies are also being conducted to learn more about the mechanisms of aqueous humor inflow and outflow, glaucomatous tissue changes in the optic nerve, and the dynamics of trabecular meshwork cells.
Studies are being conducted to streamline current surgical procedures, improve surgical wound healing, understand the possible role of nutrition in preventing open-angle glaucoma, and improve diagnostic techniques.
Through continued laboratory and clinical research, open-angle glaucoma patients should enjoy an even greater range of treatment options in the future that will help spare them progressive loss of vision.
If you are seeking glaucoma treatment, or are worried about developing glaucoma, please call our practice to schedule your comprehensive evaluation. In many cases your medical insurance plan will pay for the evaluation. Our eye doctors are experienced in managing and treating glaucoma in Delaware and Maryland. Please view our Facebook page for more information about the Lavenburg Medical Group and the DelMar Surgical and Cosmetic Treatment Center.