By Annette Pinder

Glaucoma is a chronic, progressive eye disease caused by damage to the optic nerve, which leads to visual field loss. Eye pressure is a major risk factor, such that if the eye’s drainage system causes fluid build-up, it results in excess pressure that damages the optic nerve, which leads to loss of eyesight.

Once vision loss begins at the edges of a person’s visual field it slowly affects a person’s central vision. However, it can take months to years after nerve damage has occurred before symptoms appear, and once vision is lost, it cannot be recovered.

Open-angle glaucoma is the most common form of glaucoma and is caused by damage to the filter in the eye’s drainage canals. Angle-closure glaucoma is caused by a rapid blockage of the eye’s drainage canals due to a closed or narrow-angle between the iris and cornea. Low- or normal-tension glaucoma occurs in the optic nerve despite eye pressure being normal. Congenital glaucoma occurs in infants who have underdeveloped drainage canals in their eyes during the prenatal period. Uveitic (inflammatory) glaucoma is caused by autoimmune and inflammatory disorders, and neovascular glaucoma can occur due to diabetes and other conditions that damage the body’s blood vessels.

Worldwide, glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness after cataracts. It is also the leading cause of blindness among African Americans. The disease affects one in 200 people ages fifty and younger, and one in 10 over the age of eighty. If detected early enough, it is possible to slow its progression with five new minimally invasive and non-surgical solutions that minimize or eliminate the need for glaucoma eye drops for various types of glaucoma.

  • Durysta™ is an FDA-approved dissolvable biodegradable sustained-release implant that lowers intraocular pressure and is performed in the doctor’s office.
  • The OMNI® Surgical System is a highly successful combination of implant-free glaucoma treatments performed simultaneously.
  • The XEN® Gel Stent is a surgical implant designed to lower high eye pressure in open-angle glaucoma patients where previous surgical treatment has failed and/or medications alone were insufficient.
  • The Hydrus™ Microstent is a highly effective device implanted surgically to reduce intraocular pressure in patients with mild to moderate primary open-angle glaucoma.
  • iStent is a tiny FDA-approved medical device that helps control intraocular pressure.

Fichte, Endl & Elmer Eyecare is holding a free luncheon seminar on Saturday, April 22 at their office at 2825 Niagara Falls Boulevard, Suite 130, Amherst, New York 14228 regarding these new minimally invasive solutions for glaucoma. Doors open at 11:30 am. You will have an opportunity to enjoy lunch, meet the physicians conducting these procedures, and get all of your questions answered. Also, feel free to bring a guest to attend with you. Call 1-800-309-2020, or sign up at for the Glaucoma Lunch and Learn event.