Glaucoma is a condition that damages the eye’s optic nerve. Increased intraocular pressure, the pressure inside the eye, can damage the optic nerve. If the condition worsens, glaucoma can cause vision loss and even blindness within just a few years.
At Peña Eye Institute in Harlingen, TX, and McAllen, TX, Dr. Raul A. Peña provides patients with the education necessary to address their concerns about glaucoma, and he offers various types of glaucoma treatment.
What Is Glaucoma?
Fluid inside of the eye, known as aqueous humor, drains out of the eye through a mesh-like passage. If this passage becomes blocked, or if the eye produces excess fluid that cannot drain normally, liquid begins to build up inside the eye. This buildup of fluid increases intraocular pressure. Over time, high pressure damages the eye’s optic nerve.
Four Common Glaucoma Treatments
At our Harlingen and McAllen practice, common treatments for glaucoma include:
Treatment of glaucoma often begins with prescription eye drops. These eye drops can help decrease eye pressure by improving the fluid drainage from the eye, or by decreasing the amount of fluid the eye produces.
If prescription eye drops fail to bring eye pressure down, we may prescribe an oral medication. These are usually beta-blockers or carbonic anhydrase inhibitors. They are meant to either improve fluid drainage from the eye or slow the creation of fluid.
If the above options fail, we may recommend laser surgery. This procedure is meant to either increase fluid drainage from the eye or open fluid blockages in the eye, depending on which type of glaucoma is present.
In a procedure called a trabeculectomy, we create a new passage to drain fluid and relieve eye pressure. During this type of surgery, a doctor might implant a tube to help fluid drain.
Causes of Glaucoma
Individuals who are at increased risk of glaucoma include those who are:
- Of African-American descent
- Over 40 years of age
- Are diabetic
- Have suffered eye injuries
- Have a family history of glaucoma
Guarding Against Glaucoma
While glaucoma cannot be prevented, the risk of eye damage is reduced if symptoms are discovered early. Here are some steps you can take to protect your vision:
- Undergo frequent eye exams. The sooner glaucoma is diagnosed, the sooner treatment can start. Adults should be checked for glaucoma every three to five years. Adults over 40 and those who have a history of glaucoma in their family should undergo a complete eye exam every one to two years. Adults who suffer from diabetes or are at risk of other eye conditions may need to attend exams more often.
- Stay active. Experts agree that regular exercise like walking or jogging can help you remain healthy and normalize eye pressure, which reduces the risk for developing glaucoma.
- Use eye protection. Since eye injuries can lead to glaucoma, individuals who engage in sports or other activities where damage to the eyes is a possibility (such as construction or home improvement projects), should always wear protective eyewear.
State-of-the-Art Glaucoma Care
The team at Peña Eye Institute in Harlingen and McAllen can answer all of your questions and guide you to the best possible treatment option for glaucoma. Call (956) 264-1200 or request a one-on-one evaluation through our website today.