Dr. Bruce Henderson with Highland Clinic Ophthalmology is the first Glaucoma Specialist in Louisiana to perform a Minimally Invasive Glaucoma Surgery (MIGS) using the newly approved Cypass Micro-Stent. Dr. Henderson is one of the most respected glaucoma surgeons in the Ark-La-Tex area. When selecting someone for Glaucoma Shreveport, Dr. Bruce Henderson eye site care is unmatched.
Glaucoma is a disease of the optic nerve.- the part of the eye that carries the images we see to the brain. The optic nerve is made up of many nerve fibers, like an electric cable containing numerous wires. When damage to the optic nerve fibers occurs, blind spots develop. These blind spots usually go undetected until the optic nerve is significantly damaged. If the entire nerve is destroyed, blindness results.
Early detection and treatment by your ophthalmologist are the keys to preventing optic nerve damage and blindness from glaucoma.
Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness in the United States, especially for older people. But loss of sight from glaucoma can often be prevented with early treatment.
What causes glaucoma?
Clear liquid called aqueous humor circulates inside the front portion of the eye. To maintain a healthy level of pressure within the eye, a small amount of this fluid is produced constantly while an equal amount flows out of the eye through a microscopic drainage system. (This liquid is not part of the tears on the outer surface of the eye.)
Because the eye is a closed structure, if the drainage area for the aqueous humor- called the drainage angle- is blocked, the excess fluid cannot flow out of the eye. Fluid pressure within the eye increases, pushing against the optic nerve and causing damage.
How is glaucoma treated?
As a rule, damage caused by glaucoma cannot be reversed. Eyedrops, laser surgery, and surgery in the operating room are used to help prevent further damage. In some cases, oral medications may also be prescribed.
With any type of glaucoma, periodic examinations are very important to prevent vision loss. Because glaucoma can progress without your knowledge, adjustments to your treatment may be necessary from time to time.
Glaucoma is usually controlled with eyedrops taken daily. These medications lower eye pressure, either by decreasing the amount of aqueous fluid produced within the eye or by improving the flow through the drainage angle.
Never change or stop taking your medications without consulting your ophthalmologist. If you are about to run out of your medication, ask your ophthalmologist if you should have your prescription refilled.
Glaucoma medications can preserve your vision, but they may also produce side effects. You should notify your ophthalmologist if you think you may be experiencing side effects.
Some eyedrops may cause:
- a stinging or itching sensation;
- red eyes or redness of the skin surrounding the eyes;
- changes in pulse and heartbeat;
- changes in energy level;
- changes in breathing(especially with asthma or emphysema);
- dry mouth;
- changes in sense of taste;
- blurred vision;
- change in eye color.
All medications can have side effects or can interact with other medications. Therefore, it is important that you make a list of the medications you take regularly and share this list with each doctor you see.
Laser surgery treatments may be recommended for different types of glaucoma. In open-angle glaucoma, the drain itself is treated. The laser is used to modify the drain(trabeculoplasty) to help control eye pressure. In closed-angle glaucoma, the laser creates a hole in the iris (iridotomy) to improve the flow of aqueous fluid to the drain.
Surgery in the operating room
When surgery in the operating room is needed to treat glaucoma, your ophthalmologist uses fine microsurgical instruments to create a new drainage channel for the aqueous fluid to leave the eye. Surgery is recommended if your ophthalmologist feels it is necessary to prevent further damage to the optic nerve. As with laser surgery, surgery in the operating room is typically an outpatient procedure.
What is your part in the treatment?
Treatment for glaucoma requires teamwork between you and your doctor. Your ophthalmologist can prescribe treatment for glaucoma, but only you can make sure that you follow your doctor’s instructions and use your eyedrops.
Once you are taking medications for glaucoma, your ophthalmologist will want to see you more frequently. Typically, you can expect to visit your ophthalmologist every three to four months. This will vary depending on your treatment needs.