What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a group of conditions in which a blockage occurs in the circulation of the clear fluid (aqueous humor) that fills the front part of the eye, resulting in a higher than normal pressure within the eye. The drain is located in the anterior front chamber of the eye, at the angle formed where the clear cornea meets the iris.

The high eye pressure causes damage to the tissues of the eye, especially the optic nerve and the retina (the back of the eye). Glaucoma affects the width or field of your vision and can eventually damage the sharp vision as well, even to the point of complete and total blindness.

Glaucoma usually does not give a patient symptoms until late in the disease. It is unusual to experience pain or redness, although these may occasionally occur. In addition, there is usually no blurring of vision early in the disease. For the great majority of glaucoma patients, it is a ‘silent disease,’ detected only by regular eye examinations.

Treatment for Glaucoma

Treatment options will depend on the type of glaucoma you have. Methods may include eye drops, laser surgery, medications or traditional surgery. Any vision you lose due to glaucoma cannot be regained by treatment. If glaucoma is not treated adequately, it can progress to full blindness.

The higher the pressure, the faster the visual decline. Those with glaucoma, who are suspects for glaucoma, or who have a family history of glaucoma should have regular eye examinations yearly or more often.

Due to the increased risk of glaucoma with age, even those without a family history of glaucoma should have yearly eye exams by their doctor by age forty.

Regular eye exams can help identify initial signs of glaucoma so early treatment can be administered. Contact us at 1 (843) 664-9393 today to schedule a glaucoma eye exam.

What is Xen Gel Stent?

The XEN gel stent is a minimally-invasive glaucoma surgery that makes significant reductions in intraocular pressure while decreasing the need for other medications. It was developed to provide long-term pressure-lowering benefits with much less surgical trauma to the eye. It also provides less risk of sight-threatening complications that are often associated with large pressure fluctuations after glaucoma surgery.

Minimally-invasive surgical approaches are revolutionizing the treatment of glaucoma. Less surgical trauma to the eye provides for safer intervention that may be done at earlier stages of the disease and allow for faster recovery than after traditional glaucoma surgery. In fact, most minimally-invasive procedures are designed to be performed on patients with mild to moderate glaucoma in the hopes of controlling this relentless disease and minimizing the burden of eye drops and other medications.  However, the XEN gel stent is one of the few FDA-approved minimally-invasive options that can also be beneficially performed on patients with more advanced glaucoma, providing patients with even the most severe stages of glaucoma many of the same safety and recovery benefits afforded to those with less severe disease.

The XEN gel stent is also one of the few currently-available minimally-invasive treatments that can be performed as a standalone procedure, rather than having to be done at the same time as cataract surgery.  Therefore, both patients with glaucoma who have already had cataract surgery or who still need cataract surgery may be eligible for this more effective but minimally-invasive option. In most cases, the XEN gel stent affords suitable patients with the opportunity to lower their eye pressure and get off many glaucoma medications.

What is Primary Open Angle Glaucoma?

Primary open-angle glaucoma is the most common form of glaucoma in America and Europe. This occurs when no particular reason for blockage of the drainage angle can be found. There are often no symptoms of this “silent” thief of sight. The risk factors for developing open-angle glaucoma are:

  • Advanced age
  • Family history of glaucoma
  • Elevated intraocular pressure
  • Highly pigmented skin
  • Myopia (nearsightedness)
  • Systemic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease

Regular eye exams can help identify initial signs of glaucoma so early treatment can be administered. Contact us at 1 (843) 664-9393 today to schedule a glaucoma eye exam.

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