Glaucoma Treatment Tuscaloosa
Glaucoma is the medical diagnosis for a group of eye diseases characterized by increased intraocular eye pressure and optic nerve damage that leads to vision loss and blindness. When it comes to glaucoma treatment, early diagnosis and management are critical. Once vision is lost to glaucoma, no treatments can restore it. However, medicines and procedures can manage glaucoma and prevent further vision loss.
Our eye doctors at Davis Eye Clinic specialize in disease management for glaucoma. Dr. Thomas M. Davis, Jr., is a board-certified ophthalmologist, past president of the Alabama Academy of Ophthalmology and a clinical faculty member of the University of Alabama. Dr. James B. Wilhite, Jr., graduated summa cum laude from the University of Alabama and earned his AOA honors from the University of Alabama Birmingham School of Medicine. Our skilled and experienced team focuses on diagnosing and managing glaucoma and other conditions.
What Causes Glaucoma?
Proper eye pressure inside the eyeball relies on the ebb and flow of the aqueous humor, the clear liquid found in the front portion of the eye that inflates and nourishes the eye. The aqueous is supposed to drain out from the eye as new fluid enters through the drainage angle between the iris and cornea in front of the eye to maintain consistent intraocular pressure (IOP). When aqueous humor doesn’t drain correctly, fluid builds up inside the eye, increasing IOP and damaging the optic nerve.
The optic nerve is responsible for sending light signals to the brain to form images, and it works like an electric cable with tiny wires. Increased IOP damages the nerve fibers in the optic nerve, causing blind spots in your field of vision and may affect side or peripheral eyesight first. Many glaucoma patients don’t notice these blind spots until significant optical nerve damage has occurred. Primary open-angle glaucoma is the most common form, causing gradual vision loss with no symptoms. Angle-closure glaucoma occurs rapidly when the drainage angle in the eye is blocked, causing a dangerous rise in IOP, and is a medical emergency.
Annual eye exams are imperative to diagnose glaucoma early. Our eye doctors can detect increased eye pressure during comprehensive eye exams and determine the extent of vision loss and damage. Timely treatment can prevent further vision loss or slow disease progression.
Treatment Options for Glaucoma
Glaucoma is a lifelong eye disease that requires consistent treatment and regular eye exams to monitor and manage increased eye pressure. Our eye doctors will develop a treatment plan and appointment schedule to help you maintain your vision.
Medicines and various surgical options can prevent further vision loss but will not restore the damage already caused by glaucoma. Eye drops are typically the first-line treatment to manage IOP and work by reducing aqueous fluid in the eye or improving outflow through the drainage angle. However, some patients struggle with side effects from these medicines, and their effectiveness may decrease with time.
MIGS, or minimally invasive glaucoma surgeries, are procedures that improve IOP with fewer risks than traditional surgery. MIGS have high safety profiles and offer meaningful results in IOP management. These approaches may focus on enhancing outflow in the trabecular meshwork and Schlemm’s canal, where fluid flow meets the greatest resistance. Schlemm’s canal is a circular structure that helps maintain IOP by draining fluid from the eye. The trabecular meshwork is a spongy tissue covering the inner wall of this canal in the drainage angle. MIGS procedures improve blockages in these structures for better aqueous outflow. A bypass stent, dilation of Schlemm’s canal and surgical incision or excision of the meshwork can improve the outflow system.
Laser surgery is another treatment method for glaucoma. Our eye surgeon may perform trabeculoplasty for open-angle glaucoma patients to improve the drainage angle. Laser iridotomy for angle-closure glaucoma creates a small hole in the iris to improve fluid outflow in the drainage angle. A trabeculectomy may be needed for some patients who don’t respond to other treatment methods. This surgical procedure involves the creation of a flap in the sclera (the white portion of the eye) and a bubble in the conjunctiva (clear tissue coating the sclera). This filtration bleb collects and absorbs the aqueous humor to lower eye pressure. Another procedure may create a reservoir with a tiny, implanted drainage tube called a glaucoma drainage device.
Schedule an Eye Exam at Davis Eye Clinic
If you’ve been diagnosed with glaucoma, contact our eye doctors at the Davis Eye Clinic in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, today to schedule an eye exam. Contact our office at (205) 556-9400 or fill out our online contact form.