If you have blind spots in your vision, you might be suffering from glaucoma. Glaucoma is a medical issue that harms your optic nerve and damages your eyes. If you don’t treat this issue, your vision may continue to degrade. However, at Wichita Vision Institute in Wichita, KS, Dr. Reena Patel can diagnose your eye issues and find a suitable glaucoma treatment for you.
What Are My Glaucoma Treatment Options?
Your eyes produce a type of fluid called aqueous humor. Glaucoma develops when an excessive amount of this fluid collects in your eyes and puts too much pressure on your optic nerve.
Although Dr. Patel cannot reverse the vision loss that you’ve already experienced, she can use eye drops and other techniques to decrease the chance that you will experience additional eye problems. The treatment that works for you will depend on the specific type of eye problem that you are experiencing.
Glaucoma Eye Drops
If you are suffering from a type of eye problem called open-angle glaucoma, Dr. Patel may advise you to treat your illness with eye drops. These drops can use two main methods to decrease the amount of pressure in your eyes. Some drops will cause your eyes to produce less aqueous humor. Other drops can fix this problem by helping aqueous humor drain out of your eyes.
If you use eye drops to fix your vision issues, you will usually need to administer these drops for the rest of your life. You’ll also need to have regular eye examinations. During these examinations, Dr. Patel will analyze the progression of your illness and make adjustments to your glaucoma treatment.
Dr. Patel can also treat your glaucoma by performing a laser procedure on your eyes.
Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty
If you have open-angle glaucoma, your eyes will not be able to drain aqueous humor in an efficient fashion. Dr. Patel can use a procedure called selective laser trabeculoplasty, or SLT, to improve the drainage angles in your eyes.
During this procedure, Dr. Patel will use a specialized laser to send light energy into the drainage angles in your eyes. This energy will improve the cells in your drainage angles without harming your surrounding tissues. If you have difficulty putting drops into your eyes, this laser procedure may be a good option for you.
Laser Peripheral Iridotomy
If you have closed-angle glaucoma, your iris will negatively affect your drainage angle. Your iris may partially or completely stop your aqueous fluid from draining out of your eye. This blockage can cause the pressure in your eye to increase very quickly. This is called an acute-angle-closure glaucoma attack. If you are experiencing this problem, you will need to receive immediate glaucoma treatment.
Dr. Patel can treat this problem by performing a laser peripheral iridotomy. During this procedure, she will use a laser to make a new drainage pathway in your iris. This process will enable your aqueous fluid to move within your eye. Although this procedure will not restore your vision loss, it will decrease your risk of developing excessive pressure in the future.
Dr. Patel can also use iStent optical implants to improve your eye pressure. During an iStent procedure, Dr. Patel will put optical implants into your eyes. These implants will make new pathways that will help your aqueous humor drain out of your eyes. This increased drainage will improve the pressure in your eyes.
If you are suffering from cataracts and glaucoma, Dr. Patel can treat both of these problems during a single procedure. When she removes your cataracts, she will make incisions in your eyes. She can use these incisions to insert your iStent implants. After your eye procedure is complete, you will be able to return to your home and rest for a couple of days.
Why Am I Experiencing This Eye Problem?
Changes in the condition of the optic nerve can cause you to develop glaucoma. Although scientists do not fully understand the causes of this damage, they believe that excessive amounts of pressure can cause this nerve to deteriorate.
The pressure in your eyes will increase when too much aqueous fluid builds up in this part of your body. When you are healthy, this fluid will drain away as it moves through channels that are located in the front of your eyes. These channels are called anterior chamber angles.
Sometimes, your aqueous humor will not be able to move through the channels in your eyes. Your body might also produce too much of this fluid. If you are experiencing these problems, the excess fluid will increase the pressure in your eyes, and your optical nerve will become damaged.
How Can I Diagnose This Vision Issue?
Dr. Patel can diagnose this problem during a thorough examination of your eyes. During this examination, she can use a number of different tests and measures to determine whether you are suffering from this vision problem.
Examining Your Eyes
During your eye examination, Dr. Patel will measure the amount of pressure in your eyes and assess the condition of your retinas and optic nerves. She can also use a special technique called a gonioscopy to look at the drainage angles in your eyes. She will also ask you about your symptoms and use visual field testing to see if you have lost any peripheral vision in either of your eyes.
Choosing Your Treatment
These measurements will allow Dr. Patel to determine whether you need glaucoma treatment. In addition, she may advise you to have regular examinations to monitor the condition of your eyes.
What Factors Can Increase My Chance of Developing Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a common medical condition that affects more than three million people in the United States. This illness is one of the top causes of blindness. Although anyone can experience this eye issue, certain characteristics will enhance your risk of developing this vision problem.
This illness is more common in people who are over the age of 60.
Some medical issues can raise your risk of experiencing excessive pressure in your eyes. In particular, you will have a heightened risk of experiencing this problem if you have diabetes, high blood pressure, or heart disease.
The condition of your eyes will also affect your chance of developing glaucoma. You will be more likely to develop this vision issue if the central area of your corneas is thin. Further, receiving certain types of eye procedures can increase your risk of suffering from this illness.
Can I Control My Eye Pressure by Making Lifestyle Changes?
If you are diagnosed with glaucoma, you cannot treat this illness on your own. To protect your vision, you will need to receive professional treatments. In addition, you’ll need to get regular eye examinations so that Dr. Patel can monitor the progression of your illness. That said, you might benefit from making certain lifestyle changes in connection with your professional treatment.
Reduce Your Caffeine Consumption
Consuming large amounts of caffeine could increase the pressure in your eyes. To reduce this risk, you should regulate your consumption of coffee, tea, and other beverages that have large amounts of caffeine.
Commit to Regular Exercise
If you are suffering from open-angle glaucoma, following a regular exercise routine may decrease the amount of pressure in your eyes. That said, you should talk to your primary care physician before you start a new exercise program. Your medical provider can help you design an exercise routine that will improve your health without putting too much stress on your body.
Change Your Sleeping Position
Keeping your head raised during the nighttime may help to control the pressure in your eyes. To keep your head in the proper position, you can use a wedge pillow that will elevate your head while you are sleeping.
Manage Your Stress Levels
Experiencing high levels of stress and anxiety may cause you to have an acute-angle-closure glaucoma attack. If you have a heightened risk of experiencing this problem, you should try to use meditation, yoga, or other stress-reduction techniques to manage your emotions and reduce your anxiety.
Monitor Your Fluid Intake
Drinking a very large amount of water or other fluids during a short period of time can be harmful to your eyes. This behavior may cause the pressure in your eyes to temporarily increase. To stay hydrated without damaging your eyes, you should drink water and other fluids in moderation throughout the day.
What Will My Laser Procedure Be Like?
You shouldn’t feel nervous if you need to receive a laser procedure in order to treat your glaucoma. These eye procedures are very quick, and you won’t need to spend a long time recovering from your glaucoma treatment.
Receiving a Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty
If you receive an SLT, Dr. Patel will begin by putting anesthetic drops in your eyes. Next, she will use a laser to improve the drainage angles in your eyes. This eye procedure usually takes less than 10 minutes to complete. After your SLT is complete, you’ll need to stay in our office while Dr. Patel monitors your eye pressure for a couple of hours. After this point, you’ll be able to return to your home.
This eye procedure will take a couple of weeks or months to improve your glaucoma. Although this technique is very effective, the pressure in your eyes may increase during the next five years. If you experience this issue, Dr. Patel may be able to fix this problem by giving you another SLT.
Receiving a Laser Peripheral Iridotomy
Like an SLT, a laser peripheral iridotomy is a very quick procedure. After Dr. Patel has placed special drops in your eyes, she will use a laser to improve your glaucoma. This part of your eye procedure will only take a few minutes to complete.
After Dr. Patel has monitored the pressure in your eyes, she will allow you to return to your home and begin the recovery process. To protect your eyes, you will probably need to use supplemental medications while you are recovering from your procedure.
Treat Your Vision Issues
If you are suffering from glaucoma, you should receive professional treatment for this medical issue. Treating this problem at an early stage will decrease your risk of experiencing future vision loss. To learn more about our extensive range of treatments, contact us today at Wichita Vision Institute in Wichita, KS to set up a meeting with Dr. Patel.