Glaucoma refers to a group of disorders that lead to damage to the optic nerve, the nerve that carries visual information from the eye to the brain.
Glaucoma Tube Shunts
The tube shunt procedure is used in the treatment of glaucoma to relieve intraocular pressure by implanting a device (shunt) on the eye. It is commonly used to treat uncontrolled glaucoma due to inflammation or new vessel growth.
Laser Eye Procedures
This laser is used for patients who are at risk for acute angle closure glaucoma. The treatment does not lower eye pressure, but is a precautionary procedure to prevent an acute attack of glaucoma. A small opening in the iris (the colored part of your eye) is created to allow for drainage of pressure.
This laser uses either an Argon or Nd:Yag laser to treat the trabecular meshwork (drainage system of the eye). The procedure is simply done in the clinic laser room. The procedure increases the drainage of eye pressure.
Trans-scleral Laser Cyclophotocoagulation
This laser treats the ciliary body of the eye, the location where the pressure of the eye is formed to lower eye pressure. This laser is typically performed as an outpatient procedure.
Trabeculectomy is a surgical procedure used in the treatment of glaucoma to relieve intraocular pressure by removing part of the eye's trabecular meshwork and adjacent structures. It is the most common glaucoma surgery performed and allows drainage of aqueous humor from within the eye to underneath the conjunctiva where it is absorbed.
The objective of treatment is to reduce intraocular pressure. Depending on the type of glaucoma, this is achieved with medications or by surgery.
Open-Angle Glaucoma Treatment
Most people with glaucoma can be treated successfully with eye drops. In the past, eye drops for glaucoma caused blurring of vision, but most eye drops used today have few side effects. Your doctor will look at your medical history and determine the best drops for you. You may need more than one type of drop. Some patients may also be treated with pills to lower pressure in the eye. Newer drops and pills are being developed that directly protect the optic nerve from glaucoma damage.
Some patients will need other forms of treatment, such as a laser treatment, to help open the fluid outflow channels. This procedure is usually painless. Others may need traditional surgery to open a new outflow channel.
Angle-Closure Glaucoma Treatment
Acute angle-closure attack is a medical emergency. Blindness will occur in a few days if it is not treated. Drops, pills, and medicine given through a vein (by IV) are used to lower pressure. Some people also need an emergency operation, called an iridotomy. This procedure uses a laser to open a new channel in the iris. The new channel relieves pressure and prevents another attack.
This form of glaucoma is almost always treated with surgery to open the outflow channels of the angle. This is done while the patient is asleep and feels no pain (with anesthesia).
You can manage open-angle glaucoma and almost always preserve your vision, but the condition cannot be cured. It's important to carefully follow up with your doctor. With good care, most patients with open-angle glaucoma will not lose vision.
Rapid diagnosis and treatment of an attack is the key element to preserving vision. Seek emergency care if you have the symptoms of angle-closure attack.
Early diagnosis and treatment is important. If surgery is done early enough, many patients will have no future problems.
When to Contact a Medical Professional
Call your health care provider if you have severe eye pain or a sudden loss of vision, especially loss of peripheral vision. Call for an appointment with your health care provider if you have risk factors for glaucoma and have not been screened for the condition.