At Loh Ophthalmology Associates in Miami, FL, we have significant experience at diagnosing and managing glaucoma.
Glaucoma is currently the second leading cause of vision loss in the United States, and since nerve damage caused by glaucoma is not reversible and glaucoma treatment is focused upon saving remaining vision, it is so important for our patients to note that the early diagnosis and treatment of glaucoma is extremely important!
There are multiple Types of Glaucoma:
Open Angle glaucoma is the most common form of glaucoma, and it causes very slow, but silent and progressive vision loss. Open angle glaucoma is a painless condition that with time and without treatment can lead to peripheral vision loss, and eventually total loss of vision. The not so common form of glaucoma is known as closed angle or angle closure glaucoma and it can result in faster vision loss. Open angle glaucoma does not have a cure, but appropriate management can often prevent future vision loss or blindness if it is started quickly enough.
Angle Closure/Closed Angle glaucoma does have potential cures if caught in its early stages, and these treatments depend on the specific patient and their anatomy.
One of the technologies commonly used to diagnose and track the progression of glaucoma and which we use daily at LOA, is called optical coherence tomography, or OCT. OCT helps detect glaucoma at an earlier stage, which allows for better treatment and prevention of blindness.
Visual field testing is also very useful for monitoring patients with glaucoma and any previous vision loss that has occurred.
Glaucoma Treatment and Management
Although we have not been able to figure out how to prevent glaucoma, it can be managed with proper treatment.
Significant loss of vision or blindness caused by glaucoma can be prevented if it is recognized in early stages! The goal of glaucoma management is to prevent damage to the optic nerve, by lowering the intraocular pressure, or IOP.
IOP is different from person to person, eye to eye. There really is no “perfect” IOP as some eyes can experience continued damage to the optic nerve at a pressure or IOP level that would be considered normal in someone else’s eyes. The only way physicians know is to monitor pressure and optic nerve function closely over a span of time.
An important note is that Glaucoma has genetic links, so if your parents or siblings have glaucoma, you should have regular eye examinations to check your intraocular pressures (IOP).
As we have shared above, blindness and loss of vision can occur even when you have undergone the best treatment. However, proper treatment and follow-up will help prevent or slow progression and stabilize the pressure of the vast majority of patients who have been diagnosed with glaucoma.
At Loh Ophthalmology Associates, patients who are diagnosed with glaucoma will typically be treated with pressure lowering eye drops as a first line of defense. Additional therapies include laser for glaucoma, as well as advanced micro-invasive or “minimally invasive” procedures for glaucoma, which are usually referred to as MIGS or Minimally Invasive Glaucoma Surgery. Dr. Loh provides several options for her glaucoma patients that are interested in MIGS.
Many times, patients associate glaucoma with cataracts. Although glaucoma technically is not significantly related to cataracts, Cataract surgery can actually help glaucoma! Cataract surgery lowers the eye’s pressure, sometimes reducing the need for the use of glaucoma eye drops. This is especially true when a surgeon pairs MIGS (minimally invasive glaucoma surgery) with the cataract procedure to open the eye’s internal drain. Dr. Jennifer Loh performs minimally invasive glaucoma surgery, either at the time of cataract surgery or by itself.
Options of glaucoma treatment at LOA outside of pressure lowering eye drops include: the iStent®, the Omni®, and the newest, the Xen® gel stent.
- The iStent® procedure involves a small titanium implant that is placed during minimally invasive glaucoma surgery to help lower eye pressure, ultimately treating open angle glaucoma.
- The OMNI® Surgical System is a manually operated device that helps catheterize the drain system of the eye in order to help lower the eye pressure.
- The XEN® Gel Stent is a surgical implant designed to lower high eye pressure in open-angle glaucoma patients.
For patients with narrow angle glaucoma, we also offer in-office laser iridotomy, which is the standard of care treatment for narrow angles.
The biggest factor in the treatment of your glaucoma is YOU.
If you take your diagnosis seriously, use your eye drops consistently, and follow up with your eye doctor consistently, you are much more likely to have a favorable outcome!
Our mission at LOA is to encourage patients to stick to their treatment and consistently stay ahead of this disease by having regular eye examinations.
Please call us at 786 558-8542 or contact us through our website by clicking on the “Contact Us” option if you have vision loss or blurry vision and would like an evaluation with our doctors at Loh Ophthalmology Associates.