Glaucoma is a disease that causes excessive pressure to build inside the eye. If left untreated, the condition can damage your optic nerve and lead to permanent vision loss. Fortunately, with early diagnosis and treatment, the disease can be controlled. At Reifschneider Eye Center, we provide complete glaucoma care for patients in Leavenworth and the greater Kansas City area. Dr. John Reifschneider uses an advanced optical coherence tomography (OCT) test to diagnose, observe, and determine treatment for glaucoma symptoms. To schedule an appointment, contact us today.
What Is Glaucoma?
There are two types of glaucoma, both of which result in a buildup of aqueous humor, which is the fluid that occupies the space between the anterior and posterior chambers of the eyes. Buildup happens when natural drainage canals become constricted and fail to allow the aqueous humor to flow naturally. Open-angle glaucoma is the most common type of this disease, occurring with the drainage channel is partially blocked, causing pressure to build within the eye.
Closed-angle glaucoma is rarer, and much more serious. It comes on suddenly and can cause total blindness. It occurs when the iris changes shape, narrowing and eventually blocking the drainage pathway for aqueous humor. This results in a rapid and dangerous increase of intraocular pressure (IOP).
In the early stages, open-angle glaucoma patients often have few symptoms, if any. For this reason, it is vital that you schedule routine eye exams. When symptoms do start to appear, they may include haziness and halos, especially early in the morning. As the disease progresses, you may notice gradual vision loss.
Closed-angle glaucoma comes on rapidly and the symptoms can be quite severe. They include intense eye pain, nausea, headaches, redness, and a sudden decline in the clarity and sharpness of vision.
Diagnosis and Monitoring
If you present symptoms of open- or closed-angle glaucoma, Dr. Reifschneider will use an optical coherence tomography (OCT) test to diagnose your condition. The OCT test measures the reflection of light inside your eye, creating a three-dimensional map of your eye and optic nerve. This allows Dr. Reifschneider to look for any thinning of the optic nerve. Dr. Reifschneider can carefully watch the progression of your condition and determine appropriate treatments.
Dr. Reifschneider offers several glaucoma treatments. Medicated eye drops are the least invasive, and often the only treatment you need. It is important to follow Dr. Reifschneider's instructions regarding application and frequency of use.
If your glaucoma does not improve, Dr. Reifschneider may recommend a more aggressive treatment:
Trabeculoplasty: Using a surgical laser, the doctor can remove tissues that may be partially blocking your drainage channel.
Iridotomy: Used in the treatment of closed-angle glaucoma, Dr. Reifschneider will reshape your iris and remove the cells that are blocking your drainage channel using a precision laser.
I-Stents: During this procedure, Dr. Reifschneider places a tiny tube in your eye to create a new drainage channel.
Following your glaucoma treatment, Dr. Reifschneider will monitor your condition, helping to ensure healthy vision for years to come.
Schedule an Appointment
If you have delayed your routine eye exam, or if you have noticed the symptoms of glaucoma, contact our office today.