Glaucoma Treatment Options
The most important form of treatment and preventative measures for glaucoma is a regular eye exam screening. Typically, it is recommended to have an eye screening every few years. This will differ depending on your family history, age, and ethnicity which may reflect your chances of developing glaucoma. In the early stages, glaucoma usually will not produce any noticeable symptoms; this is the most imperative time period for preventative measures and regular eye exams because once the optic nerve has been damaged, it cannot be reversed. Patients with glaucoma should have regular scheduled visits to their eye doctor and maintain a proper medication regimen in order to preserve vision.
Although nerve damage and visual loss from glaucoma cannot be reversed, symptoms of the disease can be controlled with proper medications and treatment. Treatments such as eye drops, laser surgery (Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty), and general surgery (Trabeculectomy) can help to decrease the ocular pressure caused by glaucoma and can assist in the slowing down or stopping of further nerve damage and vision loss.
Eye drops are usually the first choice for many patients in treating glaucoma. Drops are helpful in decreasing the ocular pressure by facilitating the aqueous fluid to properly drain. The better the drainage, the lesser the ocular pressure due to the decreased fluid build-up. There are many different types of eye drops used to treat glaucoma. Schedule an appointment with Hawaii Eye Institute to discuss the best eye care drops for you.
Trabeculectomy Surgery (filtration surgery) -Trabeculectomy Surgery involves creating a new “filter system” for the drainage of the aqueous fluid behind the eye. During the surgery, a piece of tissue from the drainage angle of the eye is removed which creates an opening. A flap of tissue taken from the sclera (the white of the eye) and the conjunctiva (clear covering over the sclera) is then positioned to partially cover the opening. This new opening allows fluid to drain out of the eye which results in avoiding the clogged drainage channel. Once the fluid begins to drain into the new opening, a bubble is formed by the tissue rising. This bubble is then examined at every eye examination to ensure that the new drainage opening is working.
Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT) - SLT is a form a laser surgery intended to lower the ocular pressure that is symptomatic in glaucoma. During the surgery, a laser is directed to the drainage tissue of the eye which starts a chemical and biological change to the tissue. This change results in opening the drain to allow the fluid to be released, resulting in decreased ocular pressure. The selective laser emits minimal heat energy, leaving less scar tissue and creating minimal pain to the patient. SLT is typically selected as a necessary surgery when eye drop medications are no longer lowering the ocular eye pressure.
Dr. Schmidt can help you determine which treatment options will work best for your glaucoma.