Glaucoma is an eye disease in which damage to the optic nerve cells is caused by excess fluid pressure in the eyeball leading to irreversible vision loss. It can only be found with a comprehensive eye exam.
There is more than one specific level of eye pressure that leads to vision disturbances. Majority of the people rarely experience symptoms, those with increased risk factors are especially encouraged to see an eye doctor regularly for evaluation.
People of all ages are at risk for developing glaucoma. It is the second leading cause of blindness. The most common form of glaucoma occurs when the eye’s drainage canals become clogged over time. The inner eye pressure, also called intraocular pressure or IOP, rises because the correct amount of fluid can’t drain out of the eye.
With the most generic form of glaucoma, the entrances to the drainage canals are clear and should be working correctly. However, the clogging problem occurs further inside the drainage canals (like a clogged pipe below the drain of a sink).
The biggest problem with glaucoma is the lack of symptoms since a person can’t feel the pressure in the eye. Only a few people get headaches, red eye, or blurred vision. Frequent eye testing is needed. The first noticeable symptom could be permanent holes in vision.
Elevated eye pressure
In case of one or more of the glaucoma risk factors listed above patient should visit an eye care professional for a full glaucoma exam. Early detection and treatment of high eye pressure is the best defence against glaucoma.
Most people with glaucoma are able to manage their condition successfully with the use of eye drops. These drops are varied to best suit the patient and the type of glaucoma. There are many options available to treat glaucoma other than eye drops, like laser and other surgical procedures etc.
An Ophthalmologist is right person to explain all these options. If a person experiences severe pain or rapid vision loss – it is the best option to go to the doctor because by the time methods listed below start to kick in t might end up with a damaged eye.
It is the patient that takes the final call and decides whether he/ she wants to go ahead with the procedure recommended by the doctor. If the patient has glaucoma that progresses slowly, methods below will stop further deterioration of eyesight and clear drainage channels, reduce intraocular pressure and help the patient get an unobstructed vision back.
These methods will help, by how much – all depends on the stage it has reached. It is going to take time, for this process the patient should be willing to sacrifice their time or lifestyle. It usually takes years of habits like regular consumption of cigarettes and alcohol combined with poor nutrition to destroy the eyesight. It requires a lot of hard work to stop the damaging process and start from scratch with a healthy diet.
Laser surgery may be performed in some cases of glaucoma. Different lasers are used to treat open and closed angle glaucoma. A laser can be applied to the iris or the trabecular meshwork to allow aqueous fluid to flow more effectively within the eye, and drain better by the normal drainage channels within the eye. Laser surgery, unlike incisional surgery, will not create a physical opening between the inside of the eye and the outside of the eye.
Laser Peripheral Iridotomy
Laser Peripheral Iridotomy is a treatment used for patients who are prone to develop acute angle closure or who have chronic narrow-angle glaucoma
Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT)
Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT) is performed when eye drops do not stop deterioration in the field of vision. In many cases, eye drops will need to be continued even after laser.
Cyclodiode Laser Treatment
Cyclodiode Laser Treatment causes cyclo destruction, destroying a portion of the ciliary body (A structure in the eye which produces aqueous fluid) This can reduce the amount of fluid produced and therefore help to reduce pressure inside the eye.
Minimally Invasive Glaucoma Surgery (MIGS)
Also known as micro-invasive Glaucoma Surgery operations which aim to open the trabecular meshwork or Schlemm’s canal to allow more fluid to drain from the eye.
Incisional surgery (trabeculectomy or glaucoma drainage device)
Incisional surgery may sometimes be required if the disease cannot be controlled using eye drops or other medications and laser. The requirement for incisional surgery becomes more urgent if glaucoma becomes advanced or aggressive. Incisional surgery creates an alternate pathway for aqueous fluid to exit the eye. This fluid is drained by physically creating a pathway from within the eye to space just under the whites of the eye under the upper eyelid. Aqueous fluid will then be absorbed by the fine blood vessels that are naturally found on the whites of the eye.
Trabeculectomy is usually performed after eye drops and laser have failed to control the eye pressure. A new channel is created for the fluid to leave the eye.
Glaucoma drainage devices and tube implant glaucoma surgery
A tube–shunt drainage operation is sometimes offered for difficult or complex glaucoma, especially where other sorts of surgery may have failed or had minimal chances of success.
Tube-shunt surgery or Seton glaucoma surgery involves placing a flexible plastic tube with an attached silicone drainage pouch in the eye to help drain aqueous humor from the eye. This type of surgery is usually done after a trabeculectomy has failed.
If a person already has or is prone to form scar tissue in the eye, this type of surgery may be done at the start. There are many sorts of drainage implants.
It is with the patient to choose from the above treatments best suitable for his or her needs and on the recommendation of the surgeon to give their expert opinion on the treatment the patient should opt for.
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