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Eye Care at MMC-BD — glaucoma

240 CORPORATE DR \ BEAVER DAM WI 53916 \ 920-887-1151

What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a disease that damages the eye's optic nerve. The optic nerve is connected to the retina — a layer of light-sensitive tissue lining the back of the eye. The optic nerve is made up of many nerve fibers like an electric cable is made up of many wires.

The optic nerve sends signals from your retina to your brain, where these signals are interpreted as the images you see.

In order to properly detect and treat glaucoma, it is vitally important that you have regular eye exams. A proper cataract screening can catch the disease early and potentially spare you serious vision issues down the road, up to and including blindness.

Please don't hesitate to contact us to schedule a cataract screening eye exam as soon as possible.

What are the Most Common Types of Glaucoma?

Primary Open-Angle Glaucoma
In primary open-angle glaucoma, the drainage angle formed by the cornea and the iris remains open, but the microscopic drainage channels in the angle (called the trabecular meshwork) are partially blocked, causing the aqueous humor to drain out of the eye too slowly.

This leads to fluid backup and a gradual increase of pressure within your eye. Damage to the optic nerve is painless and so slow that a large portion of your vision can be lost before you're even aware of a problem.

Closed Angle Glaucoma
Closed-angle glaucoma occurs when the iris bulges forward to narrow or block the drainage angle formed by the cornea and the iris. As a result, aqueous fluid can no longer reach the trabecular meshwork, and eye pressure increases abruptly. Closed-angle glaucoma most commonly occurs suddenly, but it can also occur gradually.

Many people who develop closed-angle glaucoma have an abnormally narrow drainage angle, to begin with. This narrow-angle may never cause any problems, so it may go undetected for life.

To learn more about glaucoma or to schedule an eye exam, call 920-887-1151

What are Treatment Options for Glaucoma?

Eye Drops
A number of medications are currently in use to treat glaucoma. Your eye care provider may prescribe a combination of medications or change your prescription over time to reduce side effects or provide a more effective treatment.

Typically medications are intended to reduce elevated intraocular pressure and prevent damage to the optic nerve.

Trabeculectomy (Filtration Surgery)
During trabeculectomy (also called filtration surgery), a new drainage opening is created to bypass the clogged drainage channels of the trabecular meshwork. The opening is partially covered with a flap of tissue from the sclera (the white part of the eye) and the conjunctiva (the clear thin covering over the sclera).

This new opening allows fluid to drain out of the eye under the conjunctiva and form a little blister, or bubble called a bleb. The bleb is located just under the upper eyelid, where it is not visible.

Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT)
SLT is a laser that treats the drain directly to help increase the outflow of fluid. It treats specific cells "selectively", leaving the trabecular meshwork intact. For this reason, SLT may be safely repeated. It is not painful and often can be an alternative to eye drops in early open-angle glaucoma.