January is Glaucoma Awareness Month
As we step into a new year, we wish all of our valued patients a year brimming with beauty, enjoyed with the vision you deserve. At Collins Vision, we remain committed to elevating lives by elevating vision, and that includes educating our patient family about the sight-stealing conditions that can affect vision.
January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month. Did you know more than 3 million people in the United States have glaucoma? The National Eye Institute projects this number will top 4.2 million by 2030; a significant increase!
All About Glaucoma
Glaucoma is often called “the silent thief of sight” because, typically, there are no early symptoms, and once vision is lost, it cannot be reversed. In fact, glaucoma is the leading cause of irreversible blindness.
When the passages that normally allow fluid in your eye become clogged or blocked, fluid builds up and increases pressure on the optic nerve. The nerve fibers and blood vessels can become damaged, resulting in vision loss.
Glaucoma comes in many different forms, but the two main types are open-angle glaucoma and angle-closure glaucoma. Both types are marked by an increase in pressure within the eye. Open-angle glaucoma is far more common, making up more than 90 percent of diagnosed cases.
While angle-closure glaucoma is less common, it develops quickly and demands immediate medical attention. It is caused by blocked drainage canals, resulting in a sudden rise in intraocular pressure. Unlike open-angle glaucoma, angle-closure glaucoma is a result of the angle between the iris and cornea closing.
Glaucoma Treatments in Fort Myers and Naples
There’s no cure for glaucoma, but treatment can often stop the damage and prevent further vision loss. The goal of glaucoma treatment at Collins Vision is to maintain your current level of vision and to prevent any further vision loss. Treatment will vary, depending on the type of glaucoma you have, the degree to which the condition has progressed, your underlying risk factors and other variables.
Glaucoma is a complex condition. For this reason, it’s important to choose a trusted and experienced doctor for your glaucoma management. As a board-certified ophthalmologist who sees patients in our Naples and Fort Myers offices, Dr. Jason Friedrichs has extensive experience in managing glaucoma.
For many of our glaucoma patients, medication alone (eye drops) is enough to control eye pressure. In some cases, several medications working together are necessary to maintain adequate pressure control. But when medication treatment alone fails to sufficiently reduce the pressure, surgery is a great option. We’ve seen great success from glaucoma surgery over the years. Below are the procedures we offer at Collins Vision:
Glaucoma Surgery Options
MLT (MICROPULSE LASER TRABECULOPLASTY)
MLT is a form of laser surgery that is used to lower intraocular pressure in open-angle glaucoma. It is used when eye drop medications are not lowering the eye pressure enough or are causing unwanted side effects. MLT can be performed as an outpatient procedure, has very little downtime and most patients report little to no discomfort.
LPI (LASER PERIPHERAL IRIDOTOMY)
Laser Peripheral Iridotomy is a standard first-line treatment in closed-angle glaucoma. The procedure creates a tiny hole in the outer edge of the iris, leading to an opening of the angle in the majority of cases. After the angle is widened from the procedure, the trabecular meshwork (which directs fluid out of the eye) is exposed and fluid outflow is enhanced.
MINIMALLY INVASIVE GLAUCOMA SURGERY (MIGS)
MIGS procedures lower eye pressure in a much safer manner with rapid recovery and minimal restrictions. Instead of creating an artificial drain in the eye, they unclog the natural drainage system of the eye and enhance drainage.
Collins Vision is pleased to offer the revolutionary iStent Microstent. The tiny iStent is placed in the eye during cataract surgery, saving patients time and money! The device is so small, it can’t be felt. In other words, you won’t even know it’s there! iStent can effectively lower eye pressure by improving the outflow of fluid from the eyes.
Dr. Friedrichs is also able to offer MIGS with the OMNI® Glaucoma Treatment System. This incredible advancement combines two procedures known as trabeculotomy and vasodilation of Schlemm’s canal in one hand-held device without the need for additional incisions.
Finally, the Hydrus™ Microstent is another highly effective device implanted to reduce intraocular pressure in patients with mild to moderate primary open-angle glaucoma. This amazing microstent is approximately the size of an eyelash – small enough that patients don’t typically even feel it.
“There are several advantages offered by the MIGS procedures like iStent, OMNI and Hydrus. They are minimally invasive, nonpenetrating procedures that do not create a permanent opening in the wall of the eye. Additionally, most can be performed either as stand-alone procedures or at the time of cataract surgery with similar recovery, postoperative drop regimen and restrictions of activity as cataract surgery alone.”
– Dr. Jason Friedrichs
A large majority of our patients who have MIGS can minimize or eliminate/minimize glaucoma eye drops.
See the Difference with the Vision You Deserve
At Collins Vision, our experienced eye doctors can diagnose and treat your glaucoma safely and effectively. After careful evaluation of the type and severity of your glaucoma, age, lifestyle and other factors, we will recommend a treatment plan that is customized for your individual needs. Schedule an appointment today. We’d be honored to serve you.