If you’re one of the more than 3 million Americans who are living with glaucoma, it’s important to participate in regular eye exams and checkups. Without proper treatment, glaucoma can get progressively worse, causing blindness. At Russell Micah Levine, MD in the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood of Manhattan, ophthalmologist Russell Levine, MD, provides personalized, attentive care for glaucoma patients. To schedule your appointment, call the New York City office or book online today.
Glaucoma is a blanket term used to describe a group of conditions that damage the optic nerve. Usually, the damage caused by glaucoma occurs due to abnormally high eye pressure. There are other less common causes of glaucoma, and Dr. Levine is an expert at determining what type of glaucoma you might have,
Anyone can experience glaucoma, but it’s especially common in older adults. In fact, glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness in people over the age of 60. There’s no cure for glaucoma, but with early detection and intervention, it’s often very treatable. This is why it is so important to make sure people at risk for glaucoma get tested regularly.
There are several types of glaucoma, including:
This type of glaucoma is often characterized by very slow clogging of the eye’s drainage canals. Pressure in the eye increases over time and gradually damages the optic nerve, so symptoms are rarely noticed by the patient. Open-angle glaucoma is the most common type of glaucoma, accounting for nine out of 10 cases.
Angle-closure glaucoma occurs when your iris bulges forward. This narrows or clogs the drainage angle formed by the cornea and iris. The narrowing or blockage prevents fluid from circulating through your eye, causing an increase in pressure.
Sometimes angle-closure glaucoma occurs suddenly, which is a medical emergency, and other times it occurs over an extended period of time.
Normal-tension glaucoma damages your optic nerve, even if your eye pressure is at normal levels. No one knows exactly what causes normal-tension glaucoma. However, you’re more at risk if you have a sensitive optic nerve, or you have limited blood flow to your eye as a result of heart disease. Dr. Levine devoted a great deal of time in his training studying Normal-tension glaucoma as it relates to patients with high blood pressure. . He often explores your medication regimen and checks your home blood pressure readings to determine if there are changes that can be made to improve the condition.
Although rare, some infants and children develop glaucoma. Usually, this occurs due to drainage blockages in the eye or as a result of an underlying medical condition.
To diagnose glaucoma, Dr. Levine conducts a comprehensive eye examination and reviews your medical history. As part of the exam, he does the following assessments:
Dr. Levine also conducts an optical coherence tomography (OCT) test. An OCT test measures the thickness of the nerve's fiber layer surrounding your optic nerve. This portion of the optic nerve is most vulnerable to elevated eye pressure.
Dr. Levine treats glaucoma using personalized, attentive care. Depending on your risk of glaucoma, or the severity of your disease, he might recommend treatment with prescription eye drops to decrease your eye pressure. If eye drops don’t make a significant difference, you might benefit from oral medications like a carbonic anhydrase inhibitor. For appropriate candidates, Dr. Levine also offers laser therapy as a first-line treatment for glaucoma, or in addition to eye drops.
Laser therapy may be necessary. Laser therapy uses an in-office laser beam to open clogged channels in your trabecular meshwork, the drainage system in the front of your eye.
If you’re concerned about your risk of glaucoma, schedule an appointment at Russell Micah Levine, MD. Call or text the office and speak with a friendly team member or book a consultation online today.