Glaucoma, otherwise known as “the sneak thief of sight,” is a complicated disease that affects more than three million Americans.
In a previous blog we discussed the two most common types of glaucoma – primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG) and angle-closure glaucoma.
As promised, in this blog, we are going to discuss the some of the available treatment options. Though the damage from glaucoma cannot be reversed, there are ways to slow or even prevent further vision loss.
More times than not, glaucoma treatment starts with medicated eye drops. In some cases, these drops are used to decrease the amount of fluid your eye produces; other times, the drops help reduce eye pressure by improving how the fluid in the eye is drained. In order to reap the most benefits when administering the eye drops, make sure that you close your eye for at least two minutes after the drops have come in contact with your eye. Lightly press and hold your index finger next to your eyelid and tear duct.
There are instances where the eye drops do not provide enough relief. In those cases, a doctor may prescribe oral medication. The medicine is usually a carbonic anhydrase inhibitor, which works to reduce the creation of the clear fluid that fills the eye’s anterior chamber.
Laser therapy has become one of the most popular treatment options for glaucoma, and is commonly used for those who are suffering from open-angle glaucoma. This form of laser therapy, otherwise known as laser trabeculoplasty, involves the use of a laser beam to help open the clogged channels that are located in the trabecular meshwork – an area of tissue in the eye near the base of the cornea. The purpose of the laser beam is to subtly change the way that the aqueous fluid passes through and out of the eye’s drain. This procedure can be performed at a doctor’s office or outpatient facility, and takes approximately 10 – 15 minutes from start to finish.
Trabeculectomy is a conventional surgery that many doctors will recommend if eye drops, medications and laser therapy do not provide adequate relief for a glaucoma patient. This procedure can be used for people who are suffering from both forms of the disease – open-angle and closed-angle. During a trabeculectomy, the surgeon will create a passage in the form of a flap in the white portion of the patient’s eye to help drain the excess fluid.
If you’d like to learn more about the viable treatment options for glaucoma and which is best for you and your situation, schedule an appointment with your primary care physician.