Welcome Medicare Nation!
I just had my annual eye exam and what a surprise I got!
I was diagnosed with Narrow Angle Glaucoma!
How could I be diagnosed with Glaucoma being just 54 years old? Not only was I diagnosed, but I had to have immediate laser surgery to correct it. I don't want any of you to be diagnosed with Narrow Angle Glaucoma, so I'm going to discuss glaucoma with you to help you understand this disease.
There are several types of glaucoma. The two main types I will be discussing today are open-angle and narrow angle glaucoma. These types of glaucoma are marked by an increase of pressure inside the eye.
Open-angle glaucoma, (also called Chronic Glaucoma), is the most common form of glaucoma, accounting for at least 90% of all glaucoma cases:
In open-angle glaucoma, the angle in your eye where the iris meets the cornea is as wide and open as it should be, but the eye’s drainage canals become clogged over time, causing an increase in internal eye pressure and subsequent damage to the optic nerve can occur. It is a lifelong condition and needs to be monitored.
It is the most common type of glaucoma, affecting about 3 million Americans, many of whom do not know they have the disease, because you will not have signs or symptoms until it is too late.
You are at increased risk of glaucoma if your parents or siblings have the disease, if you are African-American or Latino, and possibly if you are diabetic or have cardiovascular disease. The risk of glaucoma also increases with age.
Narrow Angle Glaucoma, also called acute glaucoma, is a less common form of glaucoma – less than 5% of the general population develops Narrow Angle Glaucoma.
Far sighted people are more common to have narrow angle glaucoma, since their Front Chamber of their eye is smaller than normal.
The Iris can “bow” forward, thinning the angle that drains fluid from the eye. Fluid builds up and so does the pressure inside the eye.
This happens when the drainage canals get blocked. Such as When you put a drainage stopper in the sink or something clogs the drain.
With angle-closure glaucoma, the iris (which is the colored portion of your eye – your brown eyes, your blue eyes etc.) is not as wide and open as it should be. The outer edge of the iris can bunch up over the drainage canals, when the pupil enlarges too much or too quickly. This can happen when entering a dark room.
Unlike open-angle glaucoma, narrow angle glaucoma is a result of the angle between the iris and cornea closing quickly.
What are some Symptoms of Angle-Closure Glaucoma?
Treatment for Glaucoma an involve eye drops, laser or conventional surgery. Everyone is unique and may require different treatment.
A number of medications are currently in use to treat glaucoma. Your doctor may prescribe a combination of medications or change your prescription over time to reduce side effects or provide a more effective treatment. The medications are intended to reduce elevated pressure in your eye and prevent damage to the optic nerve.
Eye drops used in managing glaucoma decrease eye pressure by helping the eye’s fluid to drain better and/or decreasing the amount of fluid made by the eye. Combination drugs are available for patients who require more than one type of medication.
2 Types of Laser Surgeries Are:
MLT provides pressure-lowering effects. It is unique in that it uses a specific diode laser to deliver laser energy in short microbursts. MLT is a relatively new laser procedure.
For the treatment of narrow angles and narrow-angle glaucoma.
Narrow-angle glaucoma (also known as acute angle glaucoma). LPI makes a small hole in the iris, allowing it to fall back from the fluid channel and helping the fluid drain. In general, surgery for narrow angle glaucoma is successful and long lasting. Regular checkups are still important though, because a chronic form of glaucoma could still occur.
The goal of all glaucoma surgery is to lower eye pressure to prevent or reduce damage to the optic nerve.
Standard glaucoma surgeries are major surgeries. While they are very often effective at lowering eye pressure and preventing progression of glaucoma, they have a long list of potential complications. The MIGS group of operations have been developed in recent years to reduce some of the complications of most standard glaucoma surgeries.
MIGS procedures work by using microscopic-sized equipment (tiny, tiny tubes & shunts) and tiny incisions. While they reduce the incidence of complications, some degree of effectiveness is also traded for the increased safety.
Tonometry measures the pressure within your eye. During tonometry, eye drops are used to numb the eye. Then a doctor or technician uses a device called a tonometer to measure the inner pressure of the eye.
Eye pressure is unique to each person.
This diagnostic procedure helps the doctor examine your optic nerve for glaucoma damage. Eye drops are used to dilate the pupil, so that the doctor can see through your eye to examine the shape and color of the optic nerve.
If the pressure within your eye is not within the normal range or if the optic nerve looks unusual, your doctor may ask you to have one or two more glaucoma exams: perimetry and gonioscopy.
Perimetry is a visual field test that produces a map of your complete field of vision. This test will help a doctor determine whether your vision has been affected by glaucoma. During this test, you will be asked to look straight ahead and then indicate when a moving light passes your peripheral (or side) vision. This helps draw a "map" of your vision.
This diagnostic exam helps determine whether the angle where the iris meets the cornea is open and wide or narrow and closed. During the exam, eye drops are used to numb the eye. A hand-held contact lens is gently placed on the eye. This contact lens has a mirror that shows the doctor if the angle between the iris and cornea is closed and blocked (a possible sign of angle-closure or acute glaucoma) or wide and open (a possible sign of open-angle, chronic glaucoma).
Pachymetry is a simple, painless test to measure the thickness of your cornea – (the clear window at the front of the eye over the pupil).
Always get a second opinion of any diagnosis of open angle or narrow angle glaucoma.
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