What treatments are available for glaucoma?
Depending on how far your glaucoma has progressed, most cases are able to be controlled by medication. However, with many advances in surgical procedures, you may wish to consider surgical options. While there are particular treatments that can delay loss of vision, scientists have still not been able to find a cure for glaucoma. This means that any vision that has been lost along the way cannot be restored. Some common treatments include:
There are certain types of prescription medications that your eye doctor may prescribe to you, that help to reduce the amount of fluid that is produced within the eye. Some pills also help to better drain fluid from your eye. In turn, this helps to reduce the pressure inside the eye. A common medication used to treat glaucoma include:
As with any medication, you may experience unwanted side-effects, which should be reported to your doctor if it raises any concerns.
Unlike regular eye drops that help to hydrate dry eyes, glaucoma eye drops are specially medicated to help lower eye pressure. This is done by either reducing the amount of fluid your eyes produce or by helping that fluid to better flow from the eye, via the drainage canal.
Laser surgery for angle closure glaucoma
Iridotomy- Angle-closure glaucoma requires immediate medical attention and treatment. Often surgery is performed to help fluid drain freely from the eye. The main type of surgery carried out for angle closure glaucoma is called iridotomy, where your surgeon uses a laser to create small holes over the iris, in order to assist in the drainage process. Iridotomy is a type of surgery that can also be used as a preventative treatment for those that show signs of the disease developing.
Laser surgery for open-angle glaucoma
Trabeculoplasty– The surgeon will place special eye drops in your eye to numb the area before guiding a tiny laser beam to the canals where fluid drains from your eye. The laser makes small incisions in the drainage holes, which helps fluid to drain freely from the eye. This is a good option for those that have a form of open-angle glaucoma that gradually worsens over time or for those that don’t react well to any prescribed medication used to treat their glaucoma.
Other types of surgery
Viscocanalostomy– Much like laser surgery, this technique aims to increase the flow of fluid from the eye by removing a section of the white covering of the eye in patients with open-angle glaucoma. This type of surgery is gaining a lot of interest as it has a very high success rate. It has also been recognized as a safe and effective treatment, for those with open-angle glaucoma, in developing countries where other medical treatments are limited.
Trabecular stent bypass- This involves inserting a very small tube into your eye to help to increase fluid drainage. The micro-tube is around 1.00mm in length and 0.33mm in height and claims the title for the smallest ever medical device. The success of the surgery is high, and also helps in reducing the future use of ongoing glaucoma medication.
Glaucoma is a disease that is becoming more common in our aging society. While it does have daunting consequences in terms of robbing your vision, quite often without any symptoms, regular eye checks can boost your confidence in preserving your vision as you move into your older years.