Glaucoma: Be Warned!
Samantha is determined to stop you!
What is the iStent and how does it help glaucoma?
Cardiologists have successfully used STENTS for years and ophthalmologists now have this technology for glaucoma. The iStent dramatically improves the way we help glaucoma patients at SEECA. The iStent implant is a revolutionary new technology that works by improving natural outflow within the eye, providing a new way to treat glaucoma that wasn't available in the past. SEECA has been using the iStent since 2015 with impressive results and zero serious complications. (See study below)
Is glaucoma really that complex?
Glaucoma is surprisingly complex. There are numerous types and sub-types of glaucoma that require completely different treatments. For example, some glaucoma patients require a special laser called SLT whereas others require another laser called a YAG. Still, others benefit from a laser called an ALT. There are also numerous drops and oral treatments for this condition. As added complexity there are multiple surgical treatments for glaucoma. The different types of glaucoma and the different treatments can be mind boggling, but it is great to know that we have all of these different tools available at SEECA in order to prevent glaucoma damage.
Why is glaucoma important?
Glaucoma is one of the top three causes of blindness in America, BUT IS PREVENTABLE and TREATABLE.
What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is increased eye pressure that causes severe damage to the eye if not treated. Glaucoma is similar, in some ways, to high blood pressure (hypertension). In very simple terms, high blood pressure damages the heart, whereas high eye pressure damages the eye and is called GLAUCOMA.
What are the symptoms of glaucoma?
Most are surprised to learn that GLAUCOMA HAS NO SYMPTOMS. Glaucoma has the nickname “thief in the night” because it doesn't have any symptoms until it's too late. The classic patient comes in and wants a new pair of glasses because their vision is decreased. These patients are shocked to find out that their decreased vision is due to glaucoma and CANNOT BE CURED.
Does SEECA employ unique technology to help manage glaucoma?
Yes. Glaucoma is one of the most complex conditions in ophthalmology, and Dr. D has copyrights on three significant inventions that assist him managing glaucoma patients. The first is SEECA ELECTRONIC MEDICAL RECORDS which Dr. D invented in 2000. The 2nd is the “GLAUCOMA ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE” (invented in 2002) which helps Dr. D set the TARGET PRESSURE and recommends treatment and return visits based on each individual’s eye pressure. The artificial intelligence system provides confirmation that complex glaucoma patients are being treated perfectly…EVERY TIME! The third invention is a sophisticated graph and timeline that shows all eye pressures and treatments including lasers, medications and surgery. It is gratifying to show a patient the graph of their eye pressure DECREASING SIGNIFICANTLY after glaucoma treatment. People are surprised to discover that Dr. D has invented this technology to help with the management of glaucoma. This is technology you would expect to find at GOOGLE but not at SEECA. Dr. D has multiple inventions and it is fun to work with someone who is so passionate about caring for his patients.
Can glaucoma be prevented?
YES! THAT IS THE GREAT NEWS; GLAUCOMA CAN BE EASILY PREVENTED IF TREATED EARLY. We prevent glaucoma damage every day, but it is frustrating to have the ability to prevent blindness and not be able to help because people don’t realize that glaucoma can happen to them. When it comes to glaucoma, a pound of prevention is worth a million pounds of cure, because glaucoma damage CANNOT BE REVERSED. When glaucoma takes your vision, the result is total blindness.
Will insurance cover glaucoma treatments?
Regular medical insurance will typically pay for glaucoma treatments like the iStent. We have an awesome insurance department that will help unravel the details of your insurance plan and we will let you have the final say, after we determine the amount your insurance will pay.
Can my regular eye doctor detect glaucoma?
Please continue to see your regular eye doctor for glasses and contact lenses, but for diagnosis and treatment of glaucoma you will also need to see an ophthalmologist who specializes in glaucoma. Many people incorrectly assume that seeing 20/20 on a routine vision exam means that they don’t have glaucoma. Specifically, you may have perfect vision but still have undetected glaucoma.
Is there objective FDA data that PROVES that the iStent is safe and effective?
Yes. The FDA approved the iStent with cataract surgery after a thorough evaluation and a prospective, randomized trial. This groundbreaking study showed that 68% of patients using the iStent met their goal, with a statistically significant value of p=0.004. This pivotal study was conducted by Glaukos and can be seen at glaukos.com.
Does high eye pressure always result in glaucoma?
No. Unlike high blood pressure, which is defined as blood pressure higher than 120/80 for everyone, high eye pressure is typically defined differently for each patient. Each eye gets a unique “TARGET PRESSURE” which means that what is good for your left eye will likely be different from what is good for your right eye. The “target pressure” is based on your age, cup to disc ratio of your optic nerve, visual fields, tomography (HRT), corneal thickness and hysteresis. Setting the target pressures for each patient is a complex process and determines what your eye pressure should be to prevent any damage to your eye from glaucoma.
Any final thoughts?
We treat complex glaucoma patients at SEECA that sometimes have other conditions like diabetes, cataracts and macular degeneration. It is intellectually stimulating to be a technician at SEECA because every patient is unique. Patients truly appreciate what we do to keep their vision great. It's the small things that make the difference: ensuring that each patient knows how to use their drops, talking to the pharmacy on a patient’s behalf, explaining the importance of a particular drop, or checking for medication samples because a patient may have fallen on tough times. I have been in the eye care field for my entire career and it's gratifying to help others with the most precious sense of all!