Alan D. Mendelsohn, MD, FACS
Glaucoma Specialist, Eye Surgeons & Consultants
4651 Sheridan Street, Suite #100, Hollywood, FL 33021
Glaucoma is a group of ocular diseases characterized by progressive, irreversible damage to the optic nerve in the back of the eye, with over 70 million people worldwide afflicted. Like a sink, the fluid in the eye, called the aqueous humor, is produced at a consistent rate throughout one’s lifetime, and drains through outflow tracts in the eye. Ideally, aqueous humor should be produced and drained out of the eye at similar rates, maintaining a consistent internal pressure in the eye, referred to as intraocular pressure (IOP). Sometimes, the drain becomes clogged, leading to damage to the optic nerve, resulting in permanent loss of vision.
Especially those with a prevalent risk factor should be exceedingly conscientious in having an annual comprehensive ocular examination to detect glaucoma or ocular hypertension. These strong risk factors include: diabetes, hypertension, family history of glaucoma, obstructive sleep apnea, taking steroids/corticosteroids for a few weeks or longer, and Black or Hispanic heritage. Once glaucoma does develop, vision loss can become severe and irreversible, which is why a comprehensive annual eye exam with one of our eye physicians is recommended, as opposed to a cursory exam at a retail outfit.
In its early stages, open angle glaucoma has no symptoms. However, with a comprehensive eye exam, and in-office diagnostic testing including OCT, Optomap, and peripheral visual field analysis, we can detect glaucoma at its very incipient stages, thereby preventing vision loss.
The treatment of chronic open angle glaucoma has been revolutionized by two new types of eyedrops, Vyzulta and Rocklatan. Both medications are a game-changer in that they are extremely effective, dual-action glaucoma drops that dramatically reduce intraocular pressure and simultaneously minimize side effects. Vyzulta and Rocklatan, very importantly, entail a convenient once per day dosing. Novel procedures for glaucoma will be discussed in next month’s Expert Advice column!