Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Glaucoma Risks & Treatment Advances Helps Preserve Vision

Jennifer Michelson, M.D.

In recognition of the American Academy of Ophthalmology designating January as Glaucoma Awareness Month, Ophthalmologist Jennifer Michelson, M.D. of Alabama Eye & Cataract Center, P.C. shared useful information for patients to help build awareness for those at increased risk of vision loss from glaucoma as well as patients already suffering from this incurable potentially blinding but treatable eye disease. “The most common type of glaucoma is called chronic open angle glaucoma. What makes it so troublesome and threatening for patients is that this disease has no warning signs or symptoms. That is why it is so important for patients to become familiar with their individual risk factors and be diligent about routine eye exams with glaucoma evaluation and testing as recommended by their eye doctor,” explained Jennifer Michelson, M.D.

Glaucoma Risk Factors
Baby boomers and seniors should note that the risk of developing glaucoma increases for those over the age of 40 and is 6 times greater once you are over 60 years of age. If any family member-especially a sibling-has glaucoma your risk increases 4-9 fold-and this is even greater if you have other systemic or eye diseases that compromise circulation such as diabetes. Race and ethnicity also affect glaucoma risk in that African-Americans have a genetic predisposition that exposes them to a 6-8 fold increased risk, patients of Hispanic descent over the age of 60 seem to be at increased risk, and Asians appear to have higher risk for developing a type of glaucoma called narrow angle glaucoma. There is now the suggestion that prolonged use of oral contraceptive birth control pills as well as the early onset of menopause may increase glaucoma risk in women. Finally, anyone suffering from sleep apnea needs to be carefully examined as this condition significantly increases glaucoma risk.

“Whether or not you have any of these increased risk factors, the best way to avoid vision loss from glaucoma is through early detection, diagnosis and treatment. This means making sure you have regular eye exams. The good news is that through advances in technology our ability to manage glaucoma has improved a great deal. Today, we have eye drops that are easier to use. An even simpler and more convenient treatment option is a safer, gentler and more effective glaucoma laser treatment that can reduce or even eliminate the need for eye drops. Furthermore, for those patients with more serious glaucoma, I am often able to use the technique of micro-invasive glaucoma surgery, or MIGS, which allows me to implant a microscopic stent to help control eye pressure and manage the disease,” Dr. Michelson explained.

You can schedule an eye exam appointment by calling Alabama Eye & Cataract Center, P.C. at 205-930-0930, or visiting Alabama Eye & Cataract Center,P.C., Google+ or www.facebook.com/alabamaeyecataractcenter.