Glaucoma…The Silent Thief of Sight

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Doctor William Hines and the Doctors at Hines-Sight are expert in the diagnosis and treatment of glaucoma and use the most advanced technology to monitor the status of the disease. We use Lasers for following the health of the optic nerve and different Lasers to treat certain types of Glaucoma.

If your doctor has told you that you have high intraocular pressure or that you might have the beginning stages of glaucoma you will want to read the information below. Many people often think that glaucoma is an eye disease that affects only seniors, but glaucoma can strike at any age. Many of you may remember a famous Minnesota Twins baseball player named Kirby Puckett. In 1995 Kirby Puckett was the MVP of the World Series and the next year he was blind in one eye. At the age of 35 his baseball career was over. This was absolutely catastrophic for the Minnesota Twins, their fans, Kirby Puckett and his friends and family. Let the story of this baseball legend be a lesson regarding regular eye exams. Regular eye exams can save your vision because glaucoma can be treated if detected.

ABOUT GLAUCOMA Glaucoma is an eye disease where the optic nerve deteriorates over time, usually due to an increase in the pressure in the eye, sometimes leading to blindness. The optic nerve carries vision from the retina to the vision portion of the brain.Glaucoma is the 2nd leading cause of blindness in the United States and the leading cause of preventable blindness.

Many eye care patients are surprised when they learn that almost 2.5 million people have glaucoma. More than half of these people do not even realize they have the disease because there are often no warning symptoms. Glaucoma is known as the “silent-thief” of sight because it silently steals one's vision. Glaucoma often goes undiagnosed because there is no pain associated with the high intraocular pressure and the vision loss is not recognized until it is advanced. Patients are urged to have routine eye exams to check the status of their general eye health. In a general eye exam glaucoma tests will be performed and the health of the optic nerve and retina will be checked with a complete dilated eye exam.

Diagnosing & Treating Glaucoma Once it has been determined that one is a "glaucoma suspect" or has glaucoma, the status of the introcular pressure, optic nerve and vision needs to be checked regularly for progression of the disease. Three tests will be performed as a baseline of the optic nerve appearance and function: stereoscopic optic nerve photographs, HRT II, and visual field testing. From these tests, all future tests will be compared to document the disease status.

If glaucoma is diagnosed, the doctors at Hines-Sight will design a treatment plan based on your specific situation. Typically a medical approach using eye drops is the first line of treatment. To be effective, the eye drops must be taken regularly and continuously. Glaucoma eye medications can have side effects. You should notify your eye doctor immediately if you think you experience side effects.

Side Effects May Include:

  • Red eyes
  • Change in heartbeat
  • Stinging eyes
  • Blurry vision
  • Frequent headaches

If further therapy is necessary, the second line of treatment is usually laser surgery to help reduce the eye pressure more. A new type of laser procedure, the SLT (Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty), is now available for treatment of glaucoma.

SLT – Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT) is a widely accepted treatment option in glaucoma treatment. SLT definitely offers a new glimpse of hope for glaucoma patients. By engaging in this NEW laser technology the ophthalmologists can now further lower pressure that can possibly help a patient avoid a more invasive surgery. SLT might even reduce the dependence on medications or drops. The surgical process typically involves only numbing of the eye with topical eye drops. A contact lens is applied which will help the surgeon focus the laser on the proper region when applying the laser spots on the trabecular meshwork. After the procedure anti-inflammatory drops are used for a week or so.

What does the procedure do? SLT actually lowers (IOP) intraocular pressure by cleaning out the pressure drain (the trabecular meshwork) by small pulsing low-energy laser light to target cells in the trabecular meshwork of the eye, allowing more pressure to leave the eye.

To speak with our Glaucoma experts, contact our Denver, Colorado or Glenwood Springs office today!

With any type of glaucoma, periodic examinations are very important to prevent vision loss. Because glaucoma can worsen without your being aware of it, your treatment may need to be changed over time.

For more information on the Kirby Puckett Story SEE this article

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