What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a group of eye conditions characterized by irreversible damage to the optic nerve. This damage to the optic nerve may lead to permanent blindness. Glaucoma is the leading cause of irreversible blindness in the United States and second leading cause of blindness in the world.

1: Drainage Canal Blocked Causing Too Much Fluid To Stay In The Eye And Increase Pressure.
2: Hi Pressure Damages Optic Nerve

People with glaucoma often do not experience pain or recognizable symptoms in the early stages of the disease. When the optic nerve becomes damaged by glaucoma, peripheral vision is usually the first to be lost.

Early diagnosis and treatment of glaucoma is essential to minimize or prevent optic nerve damage and vision loss. When glaucoma is detected early, the progress of the disease can be slowed through medical and surgical treatment.

How do I know if I have glaucoma?

Detecting glaucoma requires much more than just measuring the eye pressure. The doctors at Premier Eye Care can help you know if you have glaucoma by performing a comprehensive eye examination with particular attention to the health of the optic nerve and assessment of your peripheral vision.

You may be at a higher risk for glaucoma if you have any of the following risk factors:

  • Family history of glaucoma
  • Prior ocular injury
  • Long term use of steroid medications
  • African, Hispanic, or Asian heritage
  • Elevated eye pressure
  • Very far sighted or very near sighted
  • Thinner than normal corneas
  • Thinning of the optic nerve
  • Over 40 years old
  • Medical history of diabetes, high blood pressure, or migraines
Older couple in the park
Glaucoma Treatment

The goal of glaucoma treatment is to lower the pressure in the eye. By lowering the eye pressure, we are able to slow the progression of glaucoma, often to the point where we see no noticeable worsening of vision.

The target level of eye pressure varies from person to person and may change over time. The eye pressure may be lowered using medication eye drops, laser procedures, or surgery.

Laser Surgery for glaucoma

SLT (Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty) is a commonly performed laser surgery to treat glaucoma. In this procedure, a low power laser is used to treat the drainage area inside the eye called the trabecular meshwork. This treatment causes changes in the drain that allow the fluid in the eye to drain more easily, resulting in lower eye pressure. Laser trabeculoplasty has been performed for over 40 years in millions of patients. Most patients feel no pain during the procedure, which is performed in the office. Many patients choose Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty as first line therapy for treating glaucoma.

Iridotomy is a laser surgery to relieve or prevent angle closure glaucoma. The surgeon uses a laser to create a small hole in the iris, which allows the aqueous fluid in the eye access to the drain of the eye.

Cyclophotocoagulation is a laser surgery performed in the operating room in patients with more advanced or aggressive forms of glaucoma. In this procedure, the laser energy passes through the outer layers of the eye to treat the ciliary body, the muscle that creates the fluid that fills the eye. This treatment reduces the amount of fluid produced by the ciliary body, which results in lower eye pressure.

Incisional glaucoma surgery

For some patients, glaucoma treatment requires incisional surgery to adequately lower the eye pressure. The two primary types of incisional surgery are angle surgery and filtration surgery. Glaucoma surgery is frequently performed along with cataract surgery in patients who need treatment for cataracts and glaucoma.

Angle Surgery. When performing angle surgery, the goal is to rehabilitate the patient’s trabecular meshwork drain that is located in a position in the eye called the angle. Angle surgery helps many patients lower the pressure in their eye by improving the function of their eye’s natural drainage area, the trabecular meshwork. We commonly perform angle surgery including ABIC (Ab Interno Canaloplasty) and iStent implantation.

ABIC (Ab Interno Canaloplasty) is an angle surgery performed in the operating room that attempts to restore the function of the eye’s natural drainage system. Using a small incision in the front part of the eye, a small needle enters the drainage canal behind the trabecular meshwork. A microscopic catheter is then advanced through the drainage canal to open the canal and clear small areas of scarring and obstruction. As the catheter is retracted, a thick gel is expressed from the tip of the catheter to inflate the drainage canal. The catheter and needle are both removed and the eye is closed. Most patients experience minimal symptoms with this procedure.

Filtration surgery. For some patients, the trabecular meshwork is damaged or cannot be rehabilitated. These patients may need a filtration surgery, which involves the creation of a new drain for the eye. The most common filtration surgeries are trabeculectomy and aqueous shunt surgery.

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Friday 8:00 am - 3:00 pm

Idaho Falls Office

2100 Providence Way
Idaho Falls
Idaho 83404


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1777 E Clark St
#310 Pocatello
Idaho 83201


Rexburg Office

23 Sawtelle Ave.
St #102 Rexburg
ID 83440

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