January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month. When it comes to glaucoma, awareness is everything: approximately half of all people with glaucoma do not realize they have this potentially blinding condition. To better educate our patients, the eye team at Laser Eye Center of Miami explains why screening for glaucoma is so vital.
What Is Glaucoma?
The first step toward awareness is to understand what glaucoma is. Glaucoma is a degenerative condition that affects the optic nerve. More specifically, it is a buildup of pressure at the back of the eye. The optic nerve is responsible for sending pictures to the brain; when it is damaged by intraocular pressure, it can cause significant vision loss or even blindness.
The Importance of Screenings
Initial symptoms of glaucoma are minor and generally unnoticeable. Patients can lose as much as 40% of their vision before realizing they have a serious problem. Unfortunately, waiting that long to recognize glaucoma is dangerous. Although there is no cure for glaucoma, the earlier the condition is treated, the more likely it is to preserve eyesight for longer.
Therefore, it is critical to undergo regular screenings for glaucoma. Regular comprehensive eye exams can detect warning signs for glaucoma. Further tests are available to diagnose the condition more definitively.
Laser Eye Center of Miami is one of a handful of places in southern Florida with optical coherence tomography (OCT) technology. It takes an advanced image of the retina and optic nerve so that an ophthalmologist can diagnose glaucoma and determine the most appropriate course of treatment.
Many patients use medicated eyedrops to help relieve intraocular pressure. Selective laser trabeculoplasty (SLT), available at the Laser Eye Center of Miami, is a mild but effective laser treatment that enables the eye to drain properly to lower intraocular pressure. In the most severe cases, traditional surgery may be necessary to slow the progression of glaucoma. Potential surgical options include a tube shunt, which implants a draining device, and trabeculectomy, which creates a flap for improved fluid drainage.
Visit Laser Eye Center of Miami
Dr. Gabriel Lazcano, Dr. Abraham Award and the entire Laser Eye Center of Miami team are committed to preserving as much of a patient’s vision as possible with prompt, effective glaucoma management. To receive a glaucoma diagnosis or undergo treatment for the condition, Miami and Ft. Lauderdale patients should schedule an appointment today.