Glaucoma is a disease of the optic nerve. The nerve connects the eye to the brain. If the nerve is damaged, transmission of information to the brain is affected resulting in eventual vision loss. At The Eye Institute of Utah, our team of glaucoma specialists – Dr. Alan Crandall, Dr. Charles Weber, and Dr. Zachary Zavodni – can offer clinical and surgical treatments to battle glaucoma.
Glaucoma is called the “sneak-thief of sight” because in its early stage, there are no symptoms. Although it cannot be cured, it can usually be controlled. Left untreated, damage to the optic nerve can result in loss of vision and could eventually lead to blindness. The eye receives its nourishment from a clear fluid that circulates inside the eye called aqueous that is produced behind the iris, flows through the pupil and returns to the bloodstream through a drainage canal called the trabecular meshwork. In the case of open-angle glaucoma, this drainage canal stops working properly and the aqueous fluid exits the eye too slowly. This increase in fluid creates pressure on the delicate optic nerve. The optic nerve is responsible for sending visual signals to the brain. A part of your exam usually involves checking for high pressure and taking a magnified look at the optic nerve for any sign of change. To control glaucoma, your doctor will choose from three basic types of treatment: medicines that lower the intraocular pressure inside the eye, laser surgery (YAG or SLT) or filtration surgery using devices such as the Express Shunt or iStent. The goal of all three of these treatments is to lower the pressure in the eye.
A small percentage of people with glaucoma have a condition known as narrow-angle glaucoma. This type of glaucoma can occur slowly and progressively or very quickly and can only be detected through an eye exam. Narrow-angle glaucoma occurs when increased pressure causes the iris to be pushed forwards, blocking the drainage channel completely. Because fluid cannot exit the eye, pressure in the eye spikes rapidly. This can quickly result in emergency condition called acute closed-angle glaucoma, which can result if blindness if not immediately diagnosed and treated. Possible symptoms of narrow-angle glaucoma include blurred vision, severe eye pain, headaches, halos, or nausea and vomiting. A very important reason to make sure and see your optometrist or ophthalmologist on a yearly basis is to monitor for these conditions. When caught early, they can be controlled and vision can be preserved.
Commonly Asked Questions
How do I know if I have glaucoma?
Who gets glaucoma?
What causes glaucoma?
How do doctors detect glaucoma?
How is glaucoma treated?
iStent® Trabecular Micro-Bypass: Offering New Hope for Glaucoma Patients
Patients suffering from mild-to-moderate open-angle glaucoma now have access to an exciting new treatment option designed to help reduce pressure in the eye and slow the progression of glaucoma. The iStent® Trabecular Micro-Bypass is the smallest medical device ever approved by the FDA. iStent® is designed to create a permanent opening in your trabecular meshwork, and works continuously to improve the outflow of fluid from your eyes to help control eye pressure.
Mild-to-moderate open-angle glaucoma is the most common type of glaucoma, which occurs when pressure in the eye builds to abnormal levels. If the drainage system in the eye is clogged or not working properly, this eye pressure (also known as intraocular pressure) may increase to unhealthy levels, causing damage to the optic nerve. This can result in permanent vision loss. The iStent® implant is meant to slow the progression of glaucoma by improving the eye’s ability to drain excess fluid and reduce the pressure in your eye.
Most people with this type of glaucoma take one, two or even three types of medications daily to control intraocular pressure. Unfortunately, these drops can be inconvenient and expensive. The iStent® may be a blessing, allowing many patients to reduce or possibility eliminate the need for glaucoma medications at the discretion of his or her physician. It is important that patients who receive the iStent® continue to regularly visit his or her eye care professional to monitor the progression of their glaucoma.
Am I a candidate for the iStent® implant?
The iStent® is indicated for use in patients suffering from mild-to-moderate open-angle glaucoma in conjunction with cataract surgery who currently are being treated with ocular hypotensive medication. After scheduling an appointment with one of our world-class ophthalmologists, your doctor can help you determine if you are a good candidate for the iStent®.
Why choose The Eye Institute of Utah for your glaucoma treatment?
Dr. Robert Cionni and Dr. Alan Crandall, of The Eye Institute of Utah, were the first eye surgeons in the state of Utah to perform surgery using the iStent® implant, outside of clinical trials. This treatment option for glaucoma patients is new and only offered by a select handful of eye surgeons across the country. At The Eye Institute of Utah, we focus on offering the latest technology and treatment options for patients, and continue being involved in the research and development of cutting edge eye care technology.
If you are interested in learning more about this groundbreaking technology, call The Eye Institute of Utah today at 800-760-4171 to schedule an appointment and find out if the iStent® is right for you!