It’s easy to fear the worst when you have glaucoma, especially since it’s the second leading cause of blindness worldwide. But having glaucoma doesn’t guarantee vision loss.
Glaucoma describes a variety of eye conditions that can damage your optic nerve. Your optic nerve plays a crucial job in your ability to see because it sends visual information from the retina to your brain for processing.
When you have glaucoma, you can develop blind spots in your vision, especially with your peripheral or central areas of focus. This is often caused by increased pressure in your eye, typically because of fluid buildup. As your condition advances, you can also have tunnel vision. Without treatment, glaucoma can cause blindness in one or both eyes.
At Smart Eye Care in Brooklyn, New York, our experienced team of ophthalmologists specializes in treating eye disorders like glaucoma. In honor of Glaucoma Awareness Month, we recommend taking these steps to reduce your chances of vision loss.
1. Regular eye exams
Early detection is essential when it comes to preserving your eyesight, especially when it comes to glaucoma. Scheduling routine and comprehensive eye exams can help detect glaucoma, even in the earliest stages, before it causes significant damage. We usually recommend having a professional eye exam based on your age:
- Under 40: every 5-10 years
- 40-54: every 2-4 years
- 55-64: every 1-3 years
- 65 and older: every 1-2 years
We can help you determine the best schedule based on your unique needs.
2. Know your risks
While anyone can develop glaucoma, it often runs in families. Other factors that increase your chances of this condition include:
- Being over 60
- Having a history of high eye pressure, long-term steroid use, or nearsightedness
- Sustaining an eye injury
Certain races are also more likely to get glaucoma, including those of Asian, Native American, or Hispanic descent. African-Americans also have more than 4-5 times the risk of getting glaucoma — especially at younger ages — compared to anyone else.
3. Use prescription eye drops or medications
When you receive a glaucoma diagnosis, it’s crucial to use any prescribed eye drops or oral medications as directed. If you have high eye pressure, these prescriptions can significantly lower the chances of it progressing into glaucoma. But, to work, you must use them exactly as prescribed, whether you have symptoms or not.
If eye drops or medication can’t control the pressure in your eye, we might recommend another conservative approach, low-level light therapy. This treatment uses a small laser beam reopen clogged channels in your eye, which can help reduce pressure by encouraging trapped fluid to drain.
4. Try micro-invasive eye surgery
At Smart Eye Care, our skilled team offers cutting-edge glaucoma treatments, including micro-invasive glaucoma surgery (MIGS). One of these techniques involves inserting an iStent®, the smallest medical device ever approved by the FDA.
During this procedure, your doctor inserts your iStent to increase fluid drainage in your eye. We also offer EndoCycloPhotocoagulation, or ECP. This treatment uses a small probe inserted into your eye to deactivate fluid production, which in turn reduces pressure in your eye.
You can also safely combine both of these micro-invasive treatments with cataract surgery.
To learn more about glaucoma and how to reduce your risk of vision loss, contact us at one of our two convenient Brooklyn locations by calling or booking online today.