Kevin Niksarli, M.D. Of Newsight Laser Center, New York, N.Y. Reminds Early Detection Critical to Slowing Progress of Glaucoma

June 22, 2009 (PRLEAP.COM) Health News
New York, NY, June 22, 2009 — Kevin Niksarli, M.D. of Newsight Laser Center, reminds on 6/17/2009 in a meeting in New York, N.Y., that early detection of glaucoma is critical to slowing the progress of the disease.

Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness in the United States, affecting over 3 million Americans, states Dr. Niksarli. As many as half of them do not even know they have the disease. That is because glaucoma - often called "the sneak thief of sight" - attacks silently, with no noticeable symptoms or warning signs until it has become well established, reminds Kevin Niksarli, M.D.

As the disease progresses, people with glaucoma may notice their peripheral vision failing. By this time, the disease is usually quite advanced, and the damage is irreversible. Once vision or visual field is lost, it cannot be restored. Glaucoma usually affects both eyes, one eye shortly after the other, notes Dr. Niksarli.

Although glaucoma is not preventable, it is treatable very effectively often with eye drops, especially if caught in its earliest stages. The surest way to detect the disease in its nascent sates is through a comprehensive eye examination. Immediate treatment for early-stage open-angle glaucoma can often delay or halt the progression of the disease.

Dr. Niksarli, notes that skipping regular and thorough eye examinations is chief among the barriers to early detection. A comprehensive examination can identify risk factors, such as high eye pressure and family history, before the disease even begins to take hold.

While anyone can develop glaucoma, regular examinations are critical in patients belonging to high-risk groups, such as those with high blood pressure, diabetes and those with a family history of the disease, adds Dr. Niksarli. Glaucoma is also more common in African Americans over 40 years of age and the general population over 60 years of age.

Kevin Niksarli, M.D. of Newsight Laser Center adds that when glaucoma cannot be controlled with eye drops alone, ophthalmologuists may turn to laser surgery in which a focused bean of light creates openings at certain inner part of the eye to make fluid drainage easier. The next line of treatment is a surgical procedure called a trabeculectomy, in which a small opening is made in the front chamber of the eye to produce a new pathway through which fluid can drain. Even with surgery, many patients with glaucoma still may need eye drops to keep the condition under check, as well as close supervision by their ophthalmologist, concludes Dr. Niksarli.