There are many types of glaucoma, including but not limited to primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG), normal tension glaucoma (NTG), narrow-angle glaucoma, congenital glaucoma, and secondary glaucoma. If you have any one of these, you may be eligible for glaucoma treatment as prescribed by your ophthalmologist.
To ensure you are suitable for glaucoma treatment, we will need to review your medical history and conduct a comprehensive eye examination.
How glaucoma treatment works
The damage caused by glaucoma is not reversible. But early treatment and regular checkups can help slow or prevent vision loss, especially if the disease is detected in its early stages.
Glaucoma is treated by lowering the eye pressure (intraocular pressure). Depending on the type of glaucoma, your options may include prescription eye drops, oral medications, laser treatment, surgery, or a combination of these.
To treat open-angle glaucoma, we may use one or more of the following treatments:
- Medicines: Prescription eye drops are the most common treatment. They lower the pressure in your eye and prevent damage to your optic nerve.
- Laser treatment: To lower pressure in your eye, we can use lasers to help the fluid drain out of your eye. It’s a simple procedure that we can do in the clinic.
- Surgery: If medicines and laser treatment don’t work, we might suggest surgery. There are several different types of surgery that can help the fluid drain out of the eye.
Acute angle-closure glaucoma
Acute angle-closure glaucoma requires urgent treatment to reduce the pressure in your eye. This typically requires both medication and iridotomy laser, or a surgical procedure.
Advantages and disadvantages
Drugs, laser, and surgery can all be very successful in treating glaucoma if the disease is caught at an early stage and you are compliant with both your treatment and follow-ups.
- Treatments can only stabilise glaucoma; they cannot reverse any vision loss so you will need to see your doctor for frequent follow-up exams
- Eye drops and oral medications can cause a wide range of side effects, including but not limited to irritated and/or red eyes and low blood pressure.
Glaucoma treatment risks
As with any operation, there are risks associated with glaucoma surgery. It’s important to note, however, that surgery has very high success rates in substantially slowing the progression of glaucoma.
When it comes to surgical intervention for advanced glaucoma cases, the benefits typically outweigh the risks.
The following are rare glaucoma surgery risks or side effects:
- Vision loss
- Bleeding in the eye
- Low eye pressure (or hypotony)
- Scarring cataract formation
Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.
Options and alternatives
You may eventually need to undergo additional procedures if your eye pressure begins to rise or other changes occur in your eye.
Glaucoma treatment steps
Step 1: Diagnosis – The ophthalmologist will:
- Measure your eye pressure
- Inspect your eye’s drainage angle
- Examine your optic nerve for damage
- Test your peripheral (side) vision with a visual field test
- Take a picture or computer measurement of your optic nerve
- Measure the thickness of your cornea
Step 2: Your ophthalmologist will prescribe an appropriate glaucoma treatment.
Step 3: You can expect to visit your ophthalmologist about every 3–6 months for check-ups. However, this can vary depending on your treatment needs.
Glaucoma treatment results
Success rates for glaucoma surgery are as high as 90%.However, recovery typically takes at least a month (and sometimes two), during which your vision may be blurred.
During your initial consultation, we can discuss aftercare and recovery with you in detail so that you can make an informed decision, in conjunction with your eye doctor, on treatment.