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New minimally invasive glaucoma treatment can
save vision

Glaucoma patients now have a new treatment option that could save their vision. UTMB Health Eye Center is one of the only centers in Texas treating patients with the Trabectome.

"This extremely innovative technology provides the first minimally invasive approach to treat glaucoma," according to UTMB Health glaucoma specialist Dr. Gianmarco Vizzeri.

"It is safer than more traditional treatments and gives patients a faster recovery time. It's especially effective for patients with early to moderate stages of open-angle glaucoma."

Glaucoma, the second leading cause of blindness, is a group of eye diseases that damage the optic nerve, gradually stealing sight without warning. In the early stages of the disease, there may be no symptoms. Comprehensive eye exams to detect glaucoma include careful evaluation of the optic nerve and measurement of eye pressure.

UTMB Health glaucoma specialist Dr. Misha Syed explained how the leading-edge procedure works.

"Trabectome offers a minimally invasive way to relieve damaging pressure in the eye by restoring the eye's natural drainage pathways. This helps prevent further optic nerve damage."

Trabectome Procedure

In the simple, three-step procedure, the surgeon uses the Trabectome to make a tiny incision in the eye. An electrosurgical pulse gently removes a small strip of the diseased tissue. Finally the area is rinsed with saline solution to remove tissue debris, leaving the eye to recover almost immediately.

Vizzeri added, "Trabectome is an out-patient surgery that allows the patient to go home the same day and recover more quickly than with other types of glaucoma surgery. It also can be combined with cataract surgery.

Glaucoma patients can receive a complete eye evaluation to see if they qualify for treatment with the Trabectome at either the Galveston or Friendswood location of the UTMB Health Eye Center.

"As the only center to offer Trabectome in the entire Southeast Texas region, patients from the greater Houston area, Galveston County, Beaumont, Friendswood, Pearland and beyond can benefit from this leading-edge treatment," Syed said.

To schedule an appointment with Vizzeri or Syed, call 409-747-5800 (Galveston) or 281-996-7564 (Friendswood).

View Trabectome videos.

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Prevent vision loss from glaucoma with early detection

Glaucoma, a leading cause of irreversible blindness, can be controlled with early diagnosis and treatment, say glaucoma specialists at the UTMB Health Eye Center.

The eye specialists at the centers in Friendswood and Galveston are highly qualified and experienced in diagnosing and managing glaucoma at all stages of the disease.

Annual screening is especially important because half of the 3-4 million people in the U.S. who have glaucoma do not realize it because there are often no warning symptoms.

Glaucoma specialist Dr. Misha Syed, said, "We employ the most advanced imaging technology for early diagnosis and for monitoring disease progression."

Specialist Dr. Gianmarco Vizzeri added, "Because we also conduct lab and clinical research, our patients benefit from the most advanced, sophisticated treatments."

Drs. Syed and Vizzeri also are actively engaged in finding new diagnostic and therapeutic modalities to prevent vision loss due to glaucoma at UTMB's Ophthalmology Clinical Research Center (OCRC).

An annual exam is recommended to screen for glaucoma. Our glaucoma specialists also evaluate and treat patients already diagnosed with glaucoma without a physician referral. Call the UTMB Health Eye Center nearest you to schedule an appointment:

Galveston location: 409-747-5800
Friendswood location: 281-996-7564

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About glaucoma

Glaucoma is a relatively common condition. An estimated 3-4 million individuals in the United States from 45 years of age or older have this disease.

Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that leads to the death of neurons that connect the retina to visual centers in the brain. This connection is through the optic nerve located in the back of the eye, through which in a healthy eye more than 1 million neurons come together to enter the brain.

The cause of cell death is not known, but one theory is that the neurons are mechanically impinged as they enter the optic nerve, obstructing the metabolism of the neuron, leading to cell death.

This optic nerve, the width of 150 microns (one-tenth the diameter of angel hair pasta) is evaluated by the ophthalmologist through a microscope and technologically sophisticated imaging systems. These techniques allow the ophthalmologist to detect neuronal damage, and when found, help monitor for any progression.

In addition to direct evaluation of the optic nerve, the visual field test is an extremely useful tool in diagnosis and following for progression in glaucoma. This is due to the often insidious nature of untreated glaucoma, in which in the early stages only peripheral vision is affected. Unfortunately, in advanced disease the damage is not limited to the peripheral vision; central vision may also be affected.

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Risk factors

It was once believed that glaucoma was caused by high pressures in the eye. It is now known that high pressure is not the cause of glaucoma, but rather a risk factor.

Other factors that can place a person at risk for glaucoma include family history of the disease, age, African or Hispanic descent, prior eye trauma, and systemic illnesses such as migraine headaches and diabetes.

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Treating glaucoma

In conjunction with internists who monitor systemic illnesses, the most significant risk factor that the ophthalmologist can modify is the pressure in the eye. This is most commonly done with pressure-lowering eye drop medications.

Various forms of laser therapy also can be used, depending on the specific type of glaucoma being treated. Additionally, surgical treatments can be performed, typically if the above treatments fail.

UTMB Health Eye Center is one of the only centers in Texas treating patients with the Trabectome. This extremely innovative technology is the first minimally invasive approach to treat glaucoma. It is safer than more traditional treatments and gives patients a faster recovery time.

There is no cure for glaucoma at this time. However, through early detection, diagnose and treatment, the ophthalmologist can help preserve the vision of the patient with glaucoma.

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Links to more information about glaucoma

The Glaucoma Foundation
American Academy of Ophthalmology
World Glaucoma Patient Association
Trabectome videos
UTMB Glaucoma PowerPoint

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