What are the treatment options for glaucoma?
The goal of glaucoma treatment is to decrease the pressure in the eyes. This is achieved using special eye-drops or medications. Surgery is recommended if medications don’t yield the desired result, or with an aim to prevent further vision loss or blindness.
What are the different surgeries performed for glaucoma?
Depending on your condition, surgical options include:
- YAG Laser: A YAG targets specific cells in the trabecular meshwork by using a powerful beam of light directed into your eye. This treatment eases the outflow of fluid from the eye, thereby reducing the pressure inside the eye.
- Peripheral Iridotomy: This procedure is used for a relatively less common type of glaucoma called closed angle glaucoma that causes a sudden build-up of pressure in the eyes, which can lead to an irreversible loss of side and central vision. During iridotomy, the laser creates a small hole in the outer region of the iris (colored part of the eye). This allows free circulation of fluid in the eye, thereby lowering the eye pressure.
- SLT (Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty): SLT is employed in the most common type of glaucoma called open-angle glaucoma that develops slowly over time. During SLT, the frequency of the laser beam is varied to target specific cells of the trabecular meshwork. This procedure opens the clogged areas in the mesh work, making it easier for the fluid to flow out of the eye.
- Trabeculectomy with or without antibiotics with releasable sutures: Trabeculectomy is a commonly employed surgical procedure that relieves pressure in the eye caused due to glaucoma. It involves creation of a new drainage channel that allows the fluid to drain out of the eye leading to the formation of a bleb covered by a white outer covering (conjunctiva) of the eye. The drainage site may scar over time leading to its closure. This scar formation can be prevented with the help of antimetabolites, which act by inhibiting the multiplication of cells forming the scar tissue.
- Express Shunt: This is a simplified version of trabeculectomy. This procedure uses an extremely small tube to divert the fluid to the outside of the eye. As only controlled and precise amounts of fluid are let out, the internal pressure of the eye stands maintained at a healthy level.