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Your eye is filled with fluid that constantly fills and drains, much like a pool. If the drain in your eye gets blocked somehow, the fluid can build up, much like an overfilled water balloon. When this fluid builds up in the front of your eye it can damage your optic nerve, creating a condition known as glaucoma.
At Vision Professionals of Leawood, most of our glaucoma patients are surprised when they get their diagnosis, because it can develop for months or years without causing any symptoms. Any damage done to the optic nerve is permanent, however, so it's important that we treat glaucoma before it causes any damage to your eyes.
Any treatment we do for glaucoma is aimed toward preventing damage to the optic nerve. We begin with the least invasive treatment first, then move on to more serious treatments when milder ones no longer work. We begin treating all glaucoma patients with medication in the form of eye drops. These drops help to lower the pressure inside the eyes by reducing the amount of fluid your eye makes. Some other drops change the texture of the fluid to help it to flow more smoothly through the drainage passages.
There are two types of glaucoma, and the correct surgery for your glaucoma depends on which type you have. Both types can be done in an outpatient center specifically designed for these types of surgeries. Patients with open-angle glaucoma, the most common type, will benefit from surgery to make the drainage angle flow more easily, allowing more fluid to drain. For those with angle-closure glaucoma, the doctor will use a laser to create a very small hole in the iris, which allows fluid to drain before building up.
In the most serious cases, the doctor will need to do physical surgery on the eyes. He may implant a small drainage tube in the eye to allow fluid to drain, or may create a flap in the white of the eye which directs fluid to places where they'll be more easily absorbed.
Every glaucoma treatment begins with a comprehensive eye examination. If you haven't had your eyes examined in at least a year, it's time to come in and see one of our optometrists. Give us a call at 913-239-9446 and we'll make an appointment that fits in with your busy lifestyle.