Glaucoma Management

Glaucoma  Winston-SalemGlaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness in adults. It is estimated that 1 in 50 adults over the age of 35 has glaucoma. Glaucoma is a hereditary disease and is more likely to develop in people who are severely nearsighted, have diabetes, and/or are of African decent. Early symptoms of glaucoma are hard to detect, but with proper treatment visual damage can be prevented.

What is glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a group of diseases that cause damage to the optic nerve. The optic nerve is responsible for transmitting the image projected onto the retina, to the visual center of the brain. Glaucoma, can cause blind spots in the peripheral (side) field of vision.

What causes glaucoma?

The eye contains a watery fluid called the aqueous, which normally circulates through the eye, leaves through a drainage system and returns to the blood stream. In glaucoma, the drainage system becomes blocked, or there is an overproduction of fluid, which causes the pressure in the eye to increase. The increased pressure can damage the optic nerve, which can lead to vision loss. Poor blood flow to the optic nerve, herbs, medications, diabetes, and other diseases can also cause glaucoma-like vision loss. It is not known what causes the malfunction of the fluid system. There is much research being done to further understand glaucoma.

What can be done about glaucoma?

A thorough eye exam can detect whether you have glaucoma. Specialized tests such as visual field testing and optic nerve photography are essential in determining your risk of vision loss. If you are found to have glaucoma, treatment with medication, lasers or advanced surgeries can effectively control the condition. We also offer glaucoma treatment in the form of Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty.

Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT)

Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty, or SLT, is a common form of laser eye surgery used to lower eye pressure in glaucoma patients. SLT offers new hope for those who rely on medication or eye drops to lower eye pressure. Laser Trabeculoplasty is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treating glaucoma and the cost is typically covered by Medicare and other medical insurance plans.

How does SLT work?

SLT is a clinically-proven treatment that uses laser energy to improve the flow of fluid inside the eye, reducing eye pressure in patients with open-angle glaucoma, ocular hypertension or ‘normal-pressure’ glaucoma. The surgery is virtually painless and takes only a few minutes to complete. The entire SLT procedure, from preparation to post-operative examination, takes only about two hours.

What is the procedure for Laser Trabeculoplasty?

SLT is performed in the office. Your eye doctor will place anesthetic eye drops in your eyes and the Surgeon will use a hand-held lens to magnify your eye. You might feel a mild tingling sensation as the Surgeon applies the laser, but the procedure typically causes little to no pain.

After your procedure, you may feel a “fullness” sensation in your eye. Your eye doctor may prescribe anti-inflammatory eye drops to help with any potential eye soreness or discomfort. Recovery from SLT is quick, and most patients can resume regular activities the day after the procedure. A post-operative check will be scheduled approximately a week after the surgery.

While SLT is considered one of the safest glaucoma treatments, there can be complications, just as there can be with any other surgery. If you experience severe pain or changes to your vision after your SLT procedure, contact your doctor’s office immediately.

Can glaucoma be cured by laser treatment?

While SLT may reduce or eliminate your dependence on medication or eye drops, it is not a cure for glaucoma. Patients with glaucoma need to be monitored in order to track eye pressure levels and damage to the optic nerve over time. Make sure to schedule regular eye exams with your doctor so they can develop an individualized treatment plan and monitor your progress.

Temas Eye Center experts are happy to answer your questions about Laser Glaucoma Surgery. Call us at 336-659-8180, or request an appointment online today.

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Featured Testimonial:

Thank you for your compassion and care you show to your patients. I could no longer see the colors of the world. They were so cloudy. When you restored my vision--WOW! Thank you!! I am enjoying the flowers. May God bless you and your staff.

- Nancy R.