Now, keep up to date
with daily feeds of newly posted stories
about America's Seniors...click on the box
Glaucoma Newcomer Stalks Baby Boomers
January 10, 2011--A newer type of glaucoma
is stalking larger numbers of baby boomers,
along with some middle aged and elderly
people as well. Known by the tongue-twisting
name, Neovascular Glaucoma, the disorder
goes hand-in-glove with the estimated four
million type II diabetes cases in the U.S.
But a glaucoma treatment is close at hand.
An example is 50-year-old Jane W. of
Los Angeles. She noticed her vision becoming
blurry but had not seen an eye doctor
because she was just too busy. Jane had
taken on extra work and chores at her job.
And with a busy family, she had put off all
Recently, she woke up with pain in one
eye and went to see Ann Coleman, M.D.,
Ph.D., at the Jules Stein Eye Institute at
the UCLA School of Medicine.
"Type II diabetes is growing in the
U.S. and globally," says Dr. Coleman.
"Usually, people afflicted with neovascular
glaucoma have not been getting proper eye
checkups and have not been paying attention
to their A1C levels or to other glaucoma
A1C is an important measure of sugar
in the blood over time. Type II diabetics
are advised to keep their A1C rates below 7.
Normal levels are 4.5 to six.
According to Mateen Ahmed, M.D.,
Ph.D., New World Medical's President and
CEO, neovascular glaucoma develops when
abnormal blood vessels grow in response to
excess blood sugar. The sugar damages some
vessels so the body responds by growing yet
more blood vessels to deliver additional
oxygen to the eyes. But those new blood
vessels are weak, bleed easily and
eventually interfere with the eyes' natural
"All that creates more pressure inside
the eyes," says Dr. Ahmed. "Left without
glaucoma treatment, the condition leads to
About 10 to 15 percent of glaucoma
sufferers are between 50 and 60 years old,
according to Glaucoma.org.
New World Medical manufactures
special, extremely thin valves that are
surgically sewn onto glaucoma-stricken eyes
in short, outpatient procedures for glaucoma
treatment. (Learn what Wikipedia says about
Recovery and a return to clear vision
usually take about a week with some patients
returning to work in just several days.
Known as the Ahmed Glaucoma Valve, the
F.D.A.-cleared device is used worldwide and
automatically controls the internal eye
pressure. (Read more about how the Ahmed Glaucoma Valve
"The valve opens when higher pressure
inside the eye overcomes the resistance of
an extremely thin covering of medical grade
rubber, releasing some fluid inside the
eye," says Dr. Ahmed. "But when the eye
pressure returns to normal, the thin
covering closes again so no more fluid is
released from the glaucoma eye."
Other conditions in which the Ahmed
Glaucoma Valve are indicted include:
Uveitis - a chronic inflammation of
Traumatic glaucoma - caused by an
Infantile/Juvenile glaucoma - a much
smaller Ahmed valve fits children with
While studying the database of company
sales and shipping, New World Medical
staffers found that about 25 percent of
existing U.S. and worldwide neovascular
glaucoma patients found relief -- and
continuing healthy vision -- with the Ahmed
"Most glaucoma patients first try
certain medications, then lasers and then an
operation that creates a small surgical flap
on the eye to allow fluid to drain out," Dr.
But, alas, most medications have
undesirable side effects or don't work; the
two types of lasers used on eyes in glaucoma
surgery -- the Argon and Yag lasers -- only
create holes that close up again, causing
fluid buildup and increased pressure again.
Open Angle Glaucoma
The Ahmed Glaucoma Valve also is used
to treat many millions of people worldwide
who have open angle glaucoma, the other
common type of glaucoma. Unfortunately, many
sufferers confuse their glaucoma symptoms
with the need for cataract eye surgery.
Cataracts are actually a disorder of the eye
According to the New World Medical's
records, the valve's initial success rate is
90 to 95 percent. After five years, as many
as 40 to 50 percent of patients still find