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Pseudoexfoliation Glaucoma

Glaucoma is one of the most common causes of blindness in the United States. All forms of glaucoma are treated by lowering the pressure in the eye, but they are not all associated with high pressure. Most forms of glaucoma are what we call idiopathic or primary. These forms both mean that there is no specific cause for the glaucoma that we can identify. Primary open angle glaucoma and low tension or normal tension glaucoma fall into these categories. However, there are some forms of glaucoma where a definite cause is identified. It is important for your ophthalmologist or eye doctor to look for these causes because the cause can often affect the treatment and prognosis for the glaucoma. Pseudoexfoliation glaucoma is a specific type of glaucoma that is caused by pseudoexfoliation syndrome. It is very common in areas of Scandinavia, but it may be found in all ethnic groups. A material is produced in excess in the body that coats various areas in the eye. There is no strongly proven complications outside of the eye. However, pseudoexfoliation syndrome has several profound effects in the eye. The material coats the fibers called zonules that suspend the lens in the eye. This tends to cause these fibers to weaken and this may lead to several different concerns. This weakening may cause the lens to move forward which can result in narrow angle glaucoma or an attack of acute angle closure glaucoma. It can also cause the lens to fall back or not be held up during cataract surgery, or even by itself. It is progressive, and sometimes the lens dislocates years after cataract surgery. This material also coats the iris which is the colored part of the eye. It often will cause the pupil to not dilate as much which can make cataract surgery more challenging. Not only does it make cataract surgery more difficult, it also tends to be a more rapidly progressive form of glaucoma. Patients with pseudoexfoliation glaucoma tend to lose more vision, and have their pressure increase more than POAG (Primary open angle glaucoma). It is important to be examined at shorter intervals in this type of glaucoma. If you have glaucoma, or pseudoexfoliation glaucoma, in Austin, Georgetown, Round Rock, Sun City, Waco, or Central Texas, you can call 512-686-1224 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Aaker to evalute your glaucoma. We also do second opinions if you have questions about your current diagnosis.

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