When you’re diagnosed with glaucoma, it can be a scary time filled with uncertainties. Though glaucoma is not curable, there are many effective treatment options available, which can help you keep your glaucoma under control. Treatment options are dependent on the patient, as well as what type of glaucoma you have been diagnosed with.
Medicated Eye Drops
When it comes to treating your glaucoma, it is likely that the first thing your doctor at Attleboro Ophthalmological Associates will prescribe is medicated eye drops. Eye drops are designed to help lower the pressure in your eye in one of two ways: minimizing the amount of fluid that the eye produces, or helping the fluid flow out of the eye. Medicated eye drops for glaucoma must be used every day. Taking these eye drops regularly will help keep your glaucoma symptoms under control.
Medicated eye drops are the most common form of treating glaucoma, but they may not be the best fit for each patient. When this is the case, surgery may be the next option. Having surgery helps lower eye pressure by improving the flow of fluid out of the eye. For those that have been diagnosed with open-angle glaucoma, a laser trabeculoplasty is often recommended. When treating open-angle glaucoma, there are two kinds of trabeculoplasty surgery. The first is selective laser trabeculoplasty, also known as SLT. The second is called argon laser trabeculoplasty, also known as ALT.
SLT and ALT
During SLT surgery, a low-energy laser is used, and treats only the cells that involved in the drainage of the eye. ALT surgery uses a laser that makes small but evenly spaced out burns in the meshwork of the trabecular area. This laser works to make the drain function better, without creating new drainage holes. This makes ALT less invasive. After surgery, most patients will still have to take prescribed glaucoma medications, and may have to explore other treatment options for their increased eye pressure within 5 years after a successful procedure.
For patients with closed-angle glaucoma, a procedure called laser iridotomy is recommended. Laser iridotomy works by using a laser to create a small hole, no bigger than the head of a pin, through the iris. This small hole helps improve the stream of aqueous fluid as it moves through the drainage angle.
Closed Angle Glaucoma
If a laser iridotomy is not successful, your eye doctor at Attleboro Ophthalmological Associates may recommend a peripheral iridectomy, which is performed in an operating room, rather than in our office. During a peripheral iridectomy, a small piece of the iris is removed from the eye. This frees up space in the eye, allowing the aqueous fluid to flow properly through the drainage angle.
Another surgery option for those with glaucoma is called a trabeculectomy, in which a small flap is made on the white part of the eye, called the sclera. A filtration bleb is created under the membrane that covers the sclera on the eye. With a bleb inserted, aqueous humor fluid is able to flow properly through the flap made in the sclera, effectively lowering and controlling eye pressure.
If you’ve been diagnosed with glaucoma, and want to learn more about how Attleboro Ophthalmological Associates can help, please contact our office to schedule an appointment. Glaucoma can become difficult to live with, but we can prevent vision loss and help you live with a healthier quality of life.