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Glaucoma Treatment Summary

Glaucoma is a multi-factorial disease of the optic nerve and eye. It is not just a simple matter of measuring an eye pressure. In the initial stages of open angle glaucoma, there are no symptoms. No one ever comes into an eye doctor’s office and says that they are losing their side-vision and have glaucoma. The vision loss is so insidious that most people are unaware of it.

Anyone with a family history of glaucoma should have their eyes examined on a yearly basis after age forty. If during your routine eye exam your eye doctor has measured your eye pressure above 21 mmHg, discovers that your optic nerves have a very large cup-to-disc ratio, and/or there is asymmetric cupping of your optic nerves, you will need a work up for glaucoma. There are many people with an elevated eye pressure who never develop glaucoma and there are others who have a normal eye pressure that go blind from glaucoma. Many people may have an eye pressure of 25 or 26 mmHg and never develop glaucoma. Other people may go blind with an eye pressure of 16 or 17 mmHg. So, who needs to be treated for glaucoma?

Glaucoma Treatment Summary

If your eyes are normal and all glaucoma tests show no evidence of glaucoma damage, many eye doctors will not start glaucoma treatment until the eye pressure is consistently 27 or 28 mmHg or higher. This number will be different between eye doctors. If the eye pressure remains too high, it puts the eye at risk of other eye diseases. So, an eye pressure of 27 or 28 mmHg needs to be treated in most cases.
If any of the glaucoma tests show evidence of glaucoma damage, the eye pressure needs to be lower to stop the progression of glaucoma damage to the optic nerve as any damage to the nerve is permanent.

How low does the eye pressure need to be in order to be safe? Again, that varies between individuals. A major factor in how low the eye pressure needs to be is based on the severity of the damage to the optic nerve. Anyone with significant documented damage from glaucoma, needs to have a low eye pressure in the range of 10 -12 mmHg. If there is no significant damage from glaucoma, the eye pressure may be fine at 20 or 21 mmHg.

Other important factors in determining the treatment of glaucoma is the thickness of the cornea. A normal corneal thickness is 550 microns. A thin cornea will result in measuring the eye pressure lower than what it truly is and a thick cornea will result in measuring the eye pressure higher than what it truly is. The corneal thickness needs to be factored in when deciding what the real eye pressure is inside the eye.

Another important consideration in preventing blindness from glaucoma is patient compliance. Since there are almost no symptoms from open angle glaucoma until the end-stage of the disease, many people get complacent and do not use their glaucoma medications until it is time for their eye appointment. If patients are compliant with their treatment and keep their eye appointments, most people will not lose their vision from glaucoma.

If you have glaucoma or at risk of developing glaucoma, the eye doctor will have you return for eye appointments every 3 to 6 months depending of your particular situation. They will perform many of the tests described in the article.

The most common eye tests for glaucoma are eye pressure, corneal thickness, OCT, visual field, and examination of the optic nerve. These will usually be performed on a yearly basis scattered throughout the year.

If your glaucoma is not controlled with medications, a SLT laser can lower the eye pressure. If the eye pressure is still not controlled an MP3 laser may be indicated. If none of these treatments are able to lower the eye pressure, a trabeculectomy or shunt may be needed. If you are having cataract surgery, discuss with your eye surgeon about one of the MIGS being performed during the cataract surgery. There are many options available to treat glaucoma today. Educate yourself and ask questions when you see your eye doctor about the status of your glaucoma.

You do not have to lose your vision from glaucoma. You need to follow your eye doctor’s recommendations, stay compliant with your medications, keep your eye appointments, and if there is any question about your treatment seek a second opinion.

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  • (One of Dr. Croley’s patients wrote the following letter to local news organizations)

    Good Afternoon:
    Thought I’d give you a heads-up for a true community service feature.

    James Croley, MD is an eye surgeon located in Cape Coral [Bonita Springs and Lehigh Acres]. He has been serving in Cape Coral for about 30 years and has grown to be world renowned.

    Dr. Croley enjoys a reputation, as a result of his professionalism and accomplishments, that serve to set him apart from any other in a delicate field. He’s a giving, feeling individual, dedicated to making better those things that serve to improve the quality of life in our society.

    Dr. Croley has now authored a fabulous book entitled “Believing is Seeing.” The book is designed to provide insights into how to improve one’s health and welfare in a complicated world….and does just that!

    I believe that a feature focusing on the life and times of this extraordinary man would represent a true community service.
    In line with the Doctor’s giving persona…proceeds from the book sales will be donated towards Missions.

    Happy Easter & God Bless,

    Dick
  • Dr. Croley,
    Thank you for seeing me as a new patient! You came highly recommended by [a friend] and I found my experience to be not only professional and thorough, but friendly as well! See you in February for a six-month check.

    My Best,
    Kerry

    Ps. It was a pleasure meeting your staff as well!”

    Kerry
  • Very professional office, staff and doctor.

    Ron
  • I did not always know why I was doing some procedures but the end result was great and much better than expected.

    Zadok
  • I trust Dr.Croley with my eyes. He is the best eye doctor I have ever been to. He is genuinely concerned about my pressures and being diabetic he keeps track of any changes. I would and have recommended him to my friends. I feel blessed that Dr. Croley is looking after me.

    Karen
  • Trust completely. Do not want to ever have to change doctor.

    Barbara
  • Very pleased and love the entire staff. Will highly recommend Dr. Croley. I have good results.

    Beverly
  • I’m now excited to get the other eye done.

    Judith
  • Dr.Croley and his friendly, efficient staff make my appointments very pleasant. I also appreciate Dr. Croley’s current knowledge of new procedures and possibilities.

    Judy
  • Very nice office, great staff very caring & friendly

    Angela
  • Has many patients but devotes time only for you when with you. Made me feel very much at ease with her compassion and personal interest. Office staff very courteous & definitely trust Dr. Croley.

    Mareann
  • Dr.Croley is well-versed and articulate and maintains state-of-the-art knowledge and technology. No reservations in recommendations.

    Gerald

The Cataract & Refractive
Institute of Florida

James E. Croley III, M.D.

Office Hours

  • Monday

    7:30am – 4:00pm
    Dr. Croley sees patients at 7:30am in Cape Coral.

  • Tuesday

    8:00am – 4:00pm
    Dr. Croley performs surgeries on this day.

  • Wednesday

    7:30am – 4:00pm
    Dr. Croley sees patients at 7:30am in Cape Coral.

  • Thursday

    8:00am – 3:30pm
    Dr. Croley sees patients at 8:30am in Lehigh.

  • Friday

    8:00am – 3:30pm
    Dr. Croley alternates also in Bonita & Cape Coral.

Request an Appointment

(239) 772-2122

(239) 368-1020

(239) 949-1190