Glaucoma is a disease often associated with heightened intraocular pressure that damages the optic nerve. It can lead to blindness or loss of vision. In fact, glaucoma is currently the world’s leading cause of irreversible blindness. In most cases, it does not display any symptoms in the early phases. The only way to diagnose the condition is with regular eye examinations. However, the frequency of checkups will depend on a person’s age and the presence of other risk factors.
Intraocular pressure usually increases when there is either too much fluid being produced in the eye or a blockage in the outflow channels. Even though glaucoma can affect anyone, older people are more likely to have the disorder.
Glaucoma surgery may involve the use of laser surgery or making an incision in the eye to reduce the intraocular pressure. The doctor will determine what type of surgery is best for you depending on state and severity of your condition. He or she will also take into consideration the overall health of your eye.
In most cases, surgery will help to lower the intraocular pressure if the medication prescribed is inefficient. However, it cannot reverse loss of vision.
Types of treatments
Traditionally, glaucoma can be treated using eye drops, laser surgery, pills or a combination of all these methods. The main goal of any glaucoma treatment procedure is to prevent loss of vision. This is because such effects are irreversible. However, if detected early, glaucoma can be effectively managed. In most cases, medical and surgical treatments have helped people with glaucoma not to lose their sight.
The following are some of the most common glaucoma treatments available:
Doctors usually recommend laser eye surgery before filtering microsurgery unless there is excessive eye pressure or a severely damaged optic nerve. During the surgical laser procedure, the doctor focuses a beam of light into the eye’s trabecular meshwork to increase the flow of liquid out of the eye. Over the years, laser eye surgery has been effectively used to treat glaucoma patients all over the world.
In contrast to laser eye surgery, conventional surgery or filtering microsurgery involves the creation of a drainage hole with the use of small surgical tool. When this new opening is made, it allows the intraocular fluid to bypass the clogged drainage canals. The opening simply acts as a new artificial drainage canal that the fluid can flow out of.
When laser surgery doesn’t produce the desired results, or pressure in the eye begins to rise again, the doctor may recommend conventional surgery. In certain situations, patients might have to undergo several glaucoma surgeries to sort out their condition. However, this will not pose a threat to their eyes.
If the doctor prescribes you certain medications for your glaucoma, it is highly important that you take them regularly and in accordance with the instructions. In most cases, they will help to control the amount of pressure in your eye.
Eye drops are absorbed into the body’s bloodstream. You should therefore inform your doctor of any medications that you might be currently taking. Some drugs tend to be quite dangerous when mixed other medications.
Your doctor will tell you whether or not it’s safe for you to take the medications at the same time. To minimize the amount of drops absorbed into the bloodstream, you should close your eyes for one or two seconds after you have administered the eye drops. You should then press your index finger lightly against the inferior nasal of your eyelid. This will close the tear duct which drains into the nose
Most eye drops tend to cause some uncomfortable burning or stinging sensation when you start using them. However, this only lasts for a few seconds.
In some cases, the eye drops might not sufficiently deal with the problem of high intraocular pressure. As a result, the doctor may recommend some pills to compliment the eye drops. These pills usually have more systemic side effects than your standard eye drops. They also help to turn down the eye’s faucet and reduce the production of fluid. Pills for glaucoma are taken two to four times a day.
In addition, it is also very important that patients share their medical information with doctor so that they do not prescribe pills that are potentially dangerous.
Glaucoma is a very manageable condition if detected early. Going for regular eye examinations is the only sure way of finding out whether or not you have glaucoma. If you have any suspicions, you should consult your doctor as soon as possible.