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Have Glaucoma and told very little optic nerve left. Suggest way to restore the damage caused?

Dec 2012
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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2012
Answered : 1694 Questions
OK: Here is my question: I have Glaucoma and was told that I have very little optic nerve left for me to see out of my right eye. I was also told that my left eye is now basically useless because the optic nerve is pretty much gone. Is there a way to restore some, or all of the damage that was caused by the Glaucoma, or am I just out of luck? I also want to know if they are doing testing on people now for this condition?
Thank you. XXXXXXX Harmon.
P.S. Maybe also some medication I can take to halt the nerve from getting any worse?
My Age Is 58- Not 20. I Thought That You Were Asking How Long I Have Had it.
Posted Mon, 22 Jul 2013 in Vision and Eye Disorders
Answered by Dr. Nsah Bernard 1 hour later

Thanks for posting on XXXXXXX

I will assume that you are suffering from an open-angle (chronic) glaucoma so as to make this discussion simpler (given its chronic nature + the fact that it is the most common type of glaucoma). It occurs when an increase in eye pressure happens slowly over time and the pressure pushes on the optic nerve. This pressure must have damaged the nerve to an extend as to reach this stage (where the left eye has become useless). Once vision loss occurs, the damage is already severe and can lead to blindness.
A test called (tonometry) is done to check eye pressure.
Some of the tests your doctor may do can include (note that some of them might already have been performed on you):
- Using a special lens to look at the eye (gonioscopy)
- Photographs or laser scanning images of the inside of the eye (optic nerve imaging)
- Examination of the retina in the back of the eye
- Slit lamp examination
- Visual acuity
- Visual field measurement

The goal of treatment is to reduce eye pressure. Treatment depends on the type of glaucoma that you have. Reason why I will have to redirect you back to an eye specialist who can determine the type and give you all available treatment options including the treatment to slow down optic nerve damage. If you have open-angle glaucoma, you will probably be given eye drops. You may need more than one type. Most people can be treated successfully with eye drops. Most of the eye drops used today have fewer side effects than those used in the past. Drugs such as timolol ophthalmic (betimol, istalol, timoptic, timoptic-XE), pilocarpine ophthalmic, travoprost ophthalmic etc have good clinical prognosis upon early initiation (before irreversible damage is done). You may also be given pills to lower pressure in the eye.

Other treatments may involve:
- Laser therapy called an iridotomy
- Eye surgery if other treatments do not work
Note that, open-angle glaucoma cannot be cured. However, you can manage your symptoms by closely following your doctor's instructions. Regular check-ups are needed to prevent blindness.

Hope this may help you and wish you the best.

Dr. Nsah
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