Glaucoma is a condition that causes the deterioration of the optic nerve. It’s often diagnosed in the elderly but can appear at any time. It's also caused by the buildup of pressure inside the eye. If pressure continues to build within the eye without being addressed, the result is irreversible vision loss. Much like cataracts, it's possible that glaucoma is an inherited condition.
In its earliest stages, glaucoma produces no symptoms: It isn't painful and doesn't cause any discomfort. In the majority of cases, glaucoma is found during a routine eye exam, and the loss of peripheral vision is often the first clue that something’s wrong.
Argon laser trabeculoplasty (ALT) and selective laser trabeculoplasty (SLT) are two treatments used to treat glaucoma. The ALT laser technology was the first to be used to correct the damage caused by glaucoma. SLT, although similar to ALT, isn't as destructive and can be used repeatedly.
Both techniques have been compared to glaucoma medications in an attempt to determine which is more effective at treating the condition. So far, it seems like ALT and SLT are more effective than a medication regimen. Laser technology has made great strides in treating glaucoma, often preventing excessive damage and allowing the patient to regain at least a portion of their eyesight.
Glaucoma can't be prevented, but it can be controlled. If the condition is caught in its earliest stages -- that means getting an annual eye exam is a must -- and the intraocular pressure is released, Dr. Pilavas may be able to prevent significant vision loss from occurring.
The key to effective treatment is to keep the pressure within the eye to a minimum. If the pressure increases to the point where it damages the optic nerve, permanent and irreversible vision loss will occur. There are several medications available that can slow the progression of the disease and protect the optic nerve from experiencing long-term damage.
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