Glaucoma – Treatment Options
Different options are used to treat glaucoma such as pills, conventional surgery, laser surgery, eye drops, or combined methods. The main aim of the treatment is to prevent the loss of eye sight because once the vision is lost due to glaucoma, it is irreversible. However, if glaucoma is diagnosed at an early stage, it can be treated to prevent blindness. It is very important to take the prescribed medicines regularly to prevent the vision loss caused by glaucoma. Since glaucoma is caused by the damage of optic nerve, the damage occurred before taking treatment cannot be reversed. Through the treatment, further damage can be controlled or prevented.
Eye drops is the first choice for the treatment of glaucoma than surgery. Eye drops are helpful in controlling intraocular pressure and thereby prevent the damage of the optic nerve. If the patient is the best candidate of eye drops, then the ophthalmologist will prescribe more than one type of eye drops to provide the best possible intraocular pressure control. Some patients are poor candidates of eye drops because of certain medical conditions and overall health. The eye drops are absorbed by the blood vessels of conjunctiva in such candidates, which in turn affect the respiratory and heart functions. Eye drops may worsen certain conditions like asthma.
Different types of eye drops used in the treatment of glaucoma are prostaglandins, beta blockers, carbonic anhydrase inhibitors, alpha-adrenergic agonists, cholinergic or miotic agents, and drops with combined medications. The drops have to be applied once or twice on a daily basis.
In some patients, eye drops are not sufficient to control intraocular pressure. Hence, the ophthalmologist will prescribe pills along with the eye drops. Pills have to be taken on a daily basis for 2-4 times.
Laser surgery for glaucoma is an outpatient procedure known as laser trabeculoplasty. It is used in the treatment of open-angle glaucoma. The surgeon applies a numbing eye drop before the surgery and then a laser beam is used for the opening of the blockage to help the fluid to drain out of the eye. The patients have to visit the eye clinic many times in the following weeks to check the eye pressure. Laser surgery helps to reduce the intraocular pressure initially, but over time the eye pressure may increase gradually. Laser surgery is very popular as it has very less number of complications.
Conventional surgery is performed by creating a new opening for the free flow of the fluid. Conventional surgery is advisable only if the medications and laser surgical procedure fail to achieve the expected outcome. This type of surgery is also known as trabeculectomy and performed in an operation theatre. Before the procedure, the patients have to take relaxation medicines. The surgeon will give injection to numb the eye and surrounding areas. Then the surgeon removes some tissue to make a new opening to help the fluid to drain out from the eye. After the surgery, the patients should put eye drops for some weeks to prevent the eye from inflammation and infection. Surgery of one eye is performed at a time. If the other eye also has the same problem, then it will be done after 4 to 6 weeks of interval. Conventional surgery can reduce eye pressure up to 60 % to 80%. An enhancement surgery has to be performed, if the new opening narrows.
For additional information:
Evolution and Types of Eye Surgery
LASIK Choosing a Surgeon
LASIK Success Factors
Cataract Surgery – Choosing a surgeon
Glaucoma Treatment Options
Glaucoma Introduction and Description