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By admin | Aug 03, 2018

Glaucoma is a disease that damages the optic nerve.  The optic nerve is the structure that carries all information about how we see the world to the brain.  If the optic nerve is damaged, it is very much like cutting the power chord of the television – the television stops working.  By damaging the optic nerve, glaucoma can silently rob you of your sight.

Optic NerveAll types of glaucoma affect the optic nerve by either affecting the blood supply to the nerve, or by affecting the trabecular meshwork.  A simplified analogy is that the trabecular meshwork is like the drainage system of the eye where the liquid called aqueous drains.  This aqueous gets produced constantly by the body, and it drains constantly as well.

It is important to have an equilibrium of how much is produced and how much is drained.  If there is any blockage of this balance, it can lead to glaucoma.

There are many different types of glaucoma.  The type we will be discussing in detail is a severe, and often difficult to treat type of glaucoma called neovascular glaucoma.  Neovascular glaucoma refers to new blood vessels growing.  These new blood vessels clog up the trabecular meshwork, thereby disrupting the drainage of aqueous fluid.  Left untreated, this type of glaucoma can lead to a blind painful eye.  Timely intervention is necessary to try and best preserve your vision and prevent further damage.

Blood Vessels_1

Example of blood vessels clogging up the angle

Diseases that affect the blood flow to the eye are the usual culprits for the development of neovascular glaucoma.  These diseases include diabetes, vein occlusions, and ocular ischemic syndrome (where due to a blockage of one of the main blood vessels, the blood supply to the whole eye is compromised).  For the proper management of neovascular glaucoma, it is important to both treat the systemic disease (such as heart and vascular disease, diabetes etc.) as well as treating the eye problem.  Here at Retina Consultants of Boston, we offer the cutting-edge treatments to manage neovascular glaucoma, and will work with your other doctors to help care for any systemic diseases that might be causing the disease.

In the interest of maintaining further transparency and providing a wide breadth of information to our patients and providers, this blog will serve as an educational and informative resource on interesting happenings within Retina Consultants of Boston and in the greater field of Ophthalmology.

Here at Retina Consultants of Boston, Dr. John J. Weiter and Dr. Namrata Nandakumar are on the forefront of diagnostic techniques, treatment and micro-surgical techniques for macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, retinal detachments, macular holes, and a number of other issues affecting the vitreous and retina. Check back here frequently for news and updates on our practice and all things retina!