What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a progressive disease affecting the optic nerve and frequently associated with high eye pressure. Glaucoma is painless and can lurk symptom-free for decades, even in 20/20 eyes, so it requires careful screening. The doctors at Eye Center of New York screen for glaucoma on virtually every visit. This doesn’t just include an eye pressure check, but also an evaluation of the optic nerve. Since glaucoma has a genetic component, it’s important to screen family members who may be asymptomatic. Glaucoma is not to be confused with cataract, an aging and clouding of the natural lens, which will eventually occur in everyone.
Glaucoma is usually a very slow progressive condition that takes decades to cause blindness. It frequently occurs after the fifth decade, but many exceptions exist. Fortunately, once detected, treatment is very effective and typically requires use of daily eyedrops. Careful disease monitoring is important with advanced diagnostic testing – all of which we perform in office utilizing state-of-the-art visual fields, OCT imaging of the nerve fiber layer, and serial optic nerve photography.
Glaucoma is usually treated by pressure lowering eyedrops such as Xalatan (latanoprost) and timolol. In some cases laser therapy can be used to lower the intra ocular pressure. A new approach to glaucoma involves placement of a mini stent (the iStent) into the eye at the time off cataract surgery. Dr. Raviv is frequently able to reduce the need for drops following iStent implantation.
A pterygium is a fleshy tissue growth that starts from the white part of the eye, the conjunctiva and extends over the cornea. It typically occurs on the side of the cornea closer to the nose, though it could also be temporal. Pterygium are thought to be caused by early in life exposure to UV light; this condition is very common in populations growing up closer to the equator. Eyedrops can be used to alleviate the redness, but if irritation and discomfort persist, then surgical removal is very effective. Note, pterygium excision surgery needs to be performed in a careful manner with advanced techniques, since simple excision frequently leads to recurrence. Dr. Raviv uses the latest surgical techniques such as free conjunctival graft and biologic tissue glue to achieve virutally no recurrences.