Glaucoma is a disease that can cause permanent vision loss. The way to prevent glaucoma-related vision loss is early detection. Since glaucoma usually shows no symptoms, patients could lose vision without even knowing anything was wrong. That is why we encourage our patients to attend their annual eye examinations. Since vision lost to glaucoma cannot be restored, glaucoma treatments are aimed at stopping further vision loss. This is usually done by decreasing intraocular pressure (IOP). Elevated IOP, often called ocular hypertension, is the main cause of glaucoma.
There are many different avenues your doctor can take to accomplish this. Prior to your treatment, your doctor will need to determine which method is best for you. Often times, multiple treatment methods are combined. It may take some trial and error to find the most effective treatment for you.
There are several types of medications used for glaucoma patients. Whichever your doctor chooses will be based on your health and specific type of glaucoma.
This type of medication reduces both fluid productions and increases the outflow of fluid. This means that fluid will no longer build up in your eye, causing elevated IOP.
This type of medication lowers IOP by reducing the fluid production and decreasing the rate at which the fluid flows into the eye.
This medication reduces eye pressure by increasing the flow of fluid out of the eye.
When medication alone is not enough to prevent vision loss, laser surgery can be used. Laser surgery is commonly used to lower eye pressure. However, the length of time that pressure is lowered depends on the age of the patient, the type of glaucoma, and overall health. In a lot of cases, medication may still be necessary after laser surgery to keep IOP at a safe level. Laser surgery for glaucoma will be performed on an outpatient basis. Your surgeon will numb your eye. Depending on the type of surgery, your surgeon will direct a laser toward the trabecular meshwork, iris, ciliary body and/or retina.
Non-laser surgery is also used to treat glaucoma.
If you would like to know more about your possible treatment options for glaucoma, schedule an appointment with Dr. Cheema today!