Glaucoma is a degenerative disease that if left untreated can cause permanent damage to the optic nerve resulting in gradual vision loss and eventual blindness. Damage to the optic nerve, due to glaucoma, is usually caused by an elevated intraocular pressure (IOP). Clear fluid, called aqueous humor circulates through the eye providing nourishment to the tissues pressure to help maintain the shape of the eye. Open Angle Glaucoma (OAG), occurs when there is an increase in fluid production or a decrease in fluid drainage. Over time, as the optic nerve fibers are destroyed, peripheral (side) vision is lost.
BLOCKED FLUID FLOW Aqueous humor flows out of the eye through the Trabecular Meshwork ™, near the edge of the iris. If the TM is blocked, restricting drainage, the pressure inside the eye increases. This elevated pressure results in damage to the optic nerve and vision loss occurs.
THERAPIES TREATMENT of OPEN ANGLE GLAUCOMA OAG treatment concentrates on lowering the pressure inside the eye to prevent damage to the optic nerve. The most common treatments for glaucoma have been the use of medications (in the form of eye drops or pills), laser therapy or surgery.
NOTE: A goal in glaucoma therapy is to improve the flow of fluid out of the eye through the trabecular meshwork.
MEDICAL TREATMENTS Eye drops are commonly used to control glaucoma; however, they can be very expensive, messy and have unwanted side effects. Furthermore, they may need to be taken for the rest of your life. Some medications allow for faster drainage, while other medications reduce the production of aqueous humor.
SURGICAL TREATMENTS If non-surgical methods fail to decrease pressure, surgery may be required to create a new drainage channel. Filtration surgeries are designed to relieve eye pressure by removing tissue, inserting implants in the eye, or a combination of both.