Glaucoma: Frequently Asked Questions
Glaucoma is a common eye issue, and is the leading cause of blindness in the United States, affecting more than two million Americans. Although vision loss tends to occur in the later stages of the disease, symptoms are usually not present in the early and moderate stages. For this reason, early detection and treatment is crucial. The following are answers to some of the questions surrounding this misunderstood condition.
What is glaucoma?
Glaucoma is not a single disease, but rather a blanket term for a variety of chronic conditions which damage the optic nerve. In its advanced stages, glaucoma can cause peripheral and central vision loss.
What are the types of glaucoma?
There are two main categories of glaucoma: Open-angle and closed-angle glaucoma. These are broad terms that are further broken down into subcategories which identify primary and secondary causes. Primary open angle glaucoma is the most common form of glaucoma in the United States, making up close to 90 percent of all diagnosed cases. This form of glaucoma is caused by a gradual loss of function in the drainage system of the eye, which raises the intraocular fluid pressure (IOP). This causes damage to the optic nerve over time. On the other hand, primary angle closure glaucoma is caused by an acute blockage of the eye. This is typically marked by severe eye pain and requires immediate treatment to prevent vision loss.
What treatments are available for glaucoma?
Treatments vary depending on the type of glaucoma a patient has. Open angle glaucoma is typically treated with eye drop medications or laser therapy in order to reduce IOP. Closed angle glaucoma is usually treated with lasers to create an opening in the iris. All laser procedures are safe and state-of-the-art, and are performed within minutes in our office.
Certain surgical procedures may be performed when medication and laser therapy fails to reduce IOP. In most cases, surgery is performed on an outpatient basis in an operating room.
Interested in Learning More About Glaucoma Treatment? Contact Westchester Eye Associates
For more information about the conditions we treat and any of the services we provide, please contact our Harrison office at (914) 949-9200 or our Yonkers office at (914) 476-0650 to schedule an appointment. The Staff at Westchester Eye Associates looks forward to meeting you!