How do we treat glaucoma?
Successful glaucoma treatment involves a solid partnership between you and your eye doctor. You must be committed to following your doctor’s instructions and using any medication that is prescribed, such as eye drops or pills. Also, if you are taking medications for glaucoma, you will need to visit your eye doctor regularly, about every three to six months, depending upon your condition.
Although the damage already caused by glaucoma cannot be reversed, medicine and surgery can help to slow the progression and prevent any further damage. Our eye doctors in Oxmoor, Springhurst, Oldham, and LaGrange, KY, may use one or more of the following treatments.
Eye drops are generally the first treatment prescribed for glaucoma. Applied regularly on a daily basis, these eye drops lower eye pressure. There are different types of eye drops for glaucoma, some of which work by decreasing the amount of fluid made by your eye, and others work to decrease intraocular pressure by facilitating a smoother flow of intraocular fluid through the drainage angle.
If eye drops do not reduce your eye pressure down to the recommended level, our eye doctor may also prescribe pills (typically a carbonic anhydrase inhibitor).
All medications can produce side effects, including glaucoma eye drops and pills. If you experience any side effects, discuss them with your doctor. Do not just stop taking your medication!
Two primary types of laser surgery can be used to treat glaucoma: trabeculoplasty and iridotomy. Your ophthalmologist or eye surgeon will determine which type is best for your condition.
- Trabeculoplasty: this surgery generally treats open-angle glaucoma. The eye surgeon will use a laser to improve function of the drainage angle so that fluid flows smoothly and eye pressure is lowered.
- Iridotomy: this laser procedure may be suitable for people with angle-closure glaucoma. The eye surgeon will cut a tiny hole in the iris, which enables fluid to flow efficiently to the drainage angle.
Conventional Operating-Room Surgery
Traditional surgeries can create a new drainage channel for the aqueous fluid to exit the eye. During a trabeculectomy, your eye surgeon will cut a tiny flap in the white of your eye and also create a pocket under your upper eyelid – called a filtration bleb. Together, these changes allow the ocular fluid to drain out of the eye through the flap and into the bleb, where it is absorbed by surrounding tissue. As a result, eye pressure is reduced.
Another type of surgery involves the implantation of a very small drainage tube in your eye. This tube sends fluid to a reservoir that your eye surgeon creates beneath the membrane of your eye. The fluid is then absorbed into surrounding blood vessels, reducing pressure.