For patients whose vision is threatened by the effects of glaucoma, Drs. Richard Gordon and Sonia Belliappa provide glaucoma eye drops at their Monroe and Pomona, NY, offices to relieve its effects and prevent long-term damage. Though many patients typically require surgery at some point, topical medications such as eye drops are the first line of defense to reduce intraocular pressure (IOP) and prevent further damage. In many cases, patients are prescribed multiple eye drops to achieve the right IOP.
What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness in the U.S. and affects more than three million individuals. Increases in intraocular pressure can damage the optical nerve, and, if left untreated, can result in vision impairment or vision loss. Early stages of glaucoma typically present no symptoms, making it difficult to diagnose. However, regular eye exams can help ensure glaucoma is caught early. Although there is no cure for glaucoma, detecting the disease early makes it easier to treat and can prevent vision loss.
How can Eye Drops Help?
Glaucoma eye drops are the first line of treatment for most patients and is preferable to surgery in most instances. These eye drops work by reducing IOP and keeping it at a controlled level to prevent damage to the optic nerve. Eye drops are most often recommended for patients with open-angle glaucoma as they present fewer risks than surgical treatment. However, eye drops are ineffective for patients with closed-angle glaucoma, which is considered a medical emergency and requires surgery.
Types of Glaucoma Eye Drops Available
There are a wide range of different eye drop options for glaucoma. It is common to use multiple eye drops to help achieve target IOP. Eye drops work by doing one of two things: decreasing fluid production in the eye, or increasing fluid drainage. Eye drops that reduce fluid production include beta-blockers, adrenergic agonists, carbonic anhydrase inhibitors, and hyperosmotics. Eye drops that increase fluid drainage include cholinergic medications, certain adrenergic agonists, and prostaglandins.
Drs. Gordon and Belliappa will work closely with you to determine which combination of eye drops can achieve your target IOP without any serious side effects. Some eye drops are not appropriate for certain patients. For example, beta-blockers can cause problems for patients with heart conditions and diabetes. Others may cause a dangerous interaction with other medications you are taking. We will carefully review your medical history and your current medications to ensure your glaucoma treatment does not interfere with any other medications or have the potential for dangerous side effects.
Drs. Gordon and Belliappa will work closely with you to determine which combination of eye drops can achieve your target IOP without any side effects.
Additional Treatments for Glaucoma
Some patients are not candidates for glaucoma eye drops. In this case, oral medications are an alternative option. Oral medications can also be combined with eye drops to help achieve your target IOP. If eye drops and oral medications do not work, or you are not a candidate for either, surgery is typically the next line of defense. Selective laser trabeculoplasty (SLT) is often a preferred surgical method, as it can lower IOP by 30 percent and often results in less scarring. If this procedure does not work, SLT can be repeated, or other solutions may be explored.
Discover Your Options
If you are overdue for an eye exam, contact our team online or call our office at (845) 362-1450 to schedule your next appointment. We will carefully examine your eyes and check for signs of glaucoma. If you have glaucoma, we can recommend an appropriate treatment.
Dr. Richard Gordon offers the iStent® at his Pomona, NY, practice to help patients manage glaucoma. This tiny tube – essentially a drain – is designed for placement during cataract surgery. Once in place, the iStent® helps improve fluid drainage and maintain a healthy intraocular pressure (IOP). The iStent® is so small that you will not be able to see or feel it. Placement is a very simple procedure that can provide long-term relief. The device can also eliminate or minimize the need for eye drops, oral medication, and additional surgery. Contact us to learn more about this innovative device and how it can benefit you.
If you suffer from cataracts, as well as mild to moderate open-angle glaucoma, you may be a candidate for the iStent®.
What is the iStent®?
The iStent® is the smallest medical device ever approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. After creating an incision in your cornea, Dr. Gordon will position the iStent® in your trabecular meshwork, which is responsible for allowing fluid to drain from the anterior chamber of the eye (the area between the iris and the inner corneal surface). The device is 20,000 times smaller than the IOLs placed during cataract surgery, and can provide dramatic results when it comes to managing your glaucoma. Once in place, the iStent® improves drainage. In this way, it can keep pressure from building up and damaging your optic nerve.
The iStent® is the smallest device ever approved by the FDA.
Are You a Candidate for the iStent®?
The iStent® is designed to be placed during cataract surgery. If you suffer from cataracts as well as mild to moderate open-angle glaucoma, you may be a candidate for the iStent®. By measuring your IOP and the condition of your optic nerve, Dr. Gordon can determine whether the iStent® is right for you. If you suffer from closed-angle glaucoma, thyroid eye disease, or certain other eye conditions, the iStent® may not be recommended. Your ophthalmologist will take a complete medical history at your cataract consultation to determine if you are an iStent® candidate.
Benefits and Risks of the iStent®
The iStent® will create a permanent opening in your trabecular meshwork. Therefore, it can dramatically improve your long-term ocular health. After placement, you may be able to reduce or even eliminate your need for glaucoma medications. The iStent® can also do away with the need for future glaucoma surgeries. At the same time, it will not limit your options should you require additional treatment in the future. Finally, the iStent® involves less impact to your ocular tissues than other forms of glaucoma treatment. Therefore, placement will involve minimal recovery time and post-operative discomfort.
Because the iStent® is so tiny, the device poses very few risks. However, it is important to understand that all medical procedures involve at least a small degree of risk. The risks of the iStent® include corneal swelling, minor vision loss, stent obstruction, and corneal abrasion. These risks can be dramatically minimized when you trust your care to an experienced surgeon.
To schedule your consultation with Dr. Gordon, contact Ramapo Ophthalmology Associates today. Dr. Gordon will conduct a thorough examination to determine if the iStent® can benefit you.