Over three million people in the United States live with the progressive, vision-robbing effects of glaucoma, a group of related eye diseases that share the same fundamental problem: elevated intraocular pressure or high pressure within the eye.
If you’ve just been diagnosed with glaucoma, you may feel a bit worried and have many questions about what comes next. But first, we want to let you know that your diagnosis isn’t all bad news. In fact, it’s the first critical step toward getting the treatment you need to manage the condition and save your sight.
As a seasoned optometrist specializing in protecting eye health and preserving vision for patients with a wide range of ocular conditions, Dr. Markiel Yakubov and our skilled team offer comprehensive glaucoma treatment solutions at Elite Eye Care in New York City. Here’s what we can do for you.
Most cases of glaucoma occur when an abnormal fluid buildup at the front part of the eye causes increased pressure within the eye itself. As this internal pressure persists unchecked, it eventually begins releasing at the weakest point of the eye or the site at the back of the eye where the optic nerve is connected.
The optic nerve is a bundle of about a million microscopic nerve fibers that transmit visual signals from the eye’s retina to the brain. The relentless release of intraocular pressure slowly degrades and destroys these tiny individual fibers, causing incremental and irreversible optic nerve damage and progressive vision loss.
Open-angle glaucoma accounts for about 95% of all glaucoma diagnoses and can remain hidden and progressing — with no red-flag warning signs or symptoms — for many years. The only way to detect its presence before permanent vision loss occurs is by having regular comprehensive eye examinations.
Glaucoma may be the leading cause of blindness in the US and worldwide, but it doesn’t have to be this way — timely diagnosis and treatment can halt optic nerve damage and prevent further vision loss.
While there’s no cure for glaucoma, there’s a lot we can do to help you manage the condition. Your treatment plan has three components: reducing pressure, getting regular eye exams, and making lifestyle changes.
For open-angle glaucoma, we aim to lower intraocular pressure and keep it under control.
In many cases, prescription eye drops are the first line of defense against glaucoma. These include:
We can also combine medicated eye drops to attain the desired results with the fewest possible side effects.
If medicated eye drops don’t sufficiently reduce intraocular pressure, taking an oral medication, usually a carbonic anhydrase inhibitor, may help.
Dr. Yakubov may recommend laser therapy immediately or suggest it if the medication is intolerable or hasn’t adequately slowed glaucoma progression. This noninvasive in-office procedure uses a small laser to improve fluid drainage in the tissue where your iris meets your cornea.
Surgery may be the best solution when conservative approaches don’t work well enough to reduce and control intraocular pressure. Surgical glaucoma treatments include:
Each of these procedures takes a slightly different approach to achieve the same overriding goal: lowering and controlling vision-destroying eye pressure.
When you have glaucoma, regular eye exams are vital. During these exams, Dr. Yakubov checks your eye pressure to ensure your treatment is working and adjusts your plan when necessary. Routine eye exams are just as important for protecting your vision as the treatment itself.
Your comprehensive treatment plan may include targeted lifestyle modifications that support ocular health to give you the best possible shot at successful glaucoma management. Dr. Yakubov may advise you to:
Use caution when strength training or doing yoga; lifting heavy weights can increase eye pressure, as can head-down yoga positions. Sleeping with your head slightly elevated can help lower eye pressure.
To learn more about the glaucoma treatment solutions available at Elite Eye Care, call or click to schedule a visit at your nearest New York City location today — we have one office in Brooklyn and four offices located throughout the Bronx.