Glaucoma Symptoms and Treatments
Glaucoma Treatments Available at Perrysburg Eye Center
Several options exist for medications that reduce the pressure buildup in the eyes that can lead to glaucoma. Eye drops and pills are both effective in treating glaucoma and increased eye pressure, and each can be prescribed on their own or used in conjunction in more advanced cases of pressure buildup.
Laser Eye Surgery
Laser surgery has become increasingly popular as an intermediate step between drugs and traditional surgery though the long-term success rates are variable. The most common type performed for open-angle glaucoma is called trabeculoplasty. This procedure takes between 10 and 15 minutes, is painless, and can be performed in either a doctor’s office or an outpatient facility. The laser beam is focused upon the eye’s drain; the eye’s drainage system is changed in very subtle ways so that aqueous fluid is able to pass more easily out of the drain, thus lowering pressure buildup.
When medications and laser therapies do not adequately lower eye pressure, doctors may recommend conventional surgery. The most common of these operations is called a trabeculectomy, which is used in both open-angle and closed-angle glaucomas. In this procedure, the surgeon creates a passage in the sclera (the eye’s white portion) for draining excess eye fluid. A flap is created that allows fluid to escape, but which does not deflate the eyeball. A small bubble of fluid called a “bleb” often forms over the opening on the surface of the eye, which is a sign that fluid is draining out into the space between the sclera and conjunctiva. Occasionally, the surgically created drainage hole begins to close and the IOP rises again.
Drainage Implant Surgery
Several different devices have been developed to aid the drainage of aqueous humor out of the anterior chamber and lower IOP. All of these drainage devices share a similar design which consists of a small silicone tube that extends into the anterior chamber of the eye. The tube is connected to one or more plates, which are sutured to the surface of the eye, usually not visible. Fluid is collected on the plate and then absorbed by the tissues in the eye. This type of surgery is thought to lower IOP less than trabeculectomy but is preferred in patients whose IOP cannot be controlled with traditional surgery or who have previous scarring.
Newer non-penetrating glaucoma surgery, which does not enter the anterior chamber of the eye, shows great promise in minimizing postoperative complications and lowering the risk for infection. However, such surgery often requires a greater surgical acumen and generally does not lower IOP as much as trabeculectomy. Furthermore, long term studies are needed to assess these procedures and to determine their role in the clinical management of glaucoma patients.