When you're dealing with a glaucoma diagnosis, it's important that you understand what your treatment options are and what path your doctor is likely to follow. This is important because you need to be able to recognize when one treatment isn't doing what it should or when it's time to look into something new. Here's a look at some of the basics of glaucoma treatment to help you understand the road ahead.
The first stage of glaucoma treatment is often eye drops. These are used to manage the fluid flow and production to ease your symptoms. Prostaglandins are used to increase the fluid outflow, which will reduce the overall eye pressure. Beta blockers are a common choice for minimizing fluid production, which eases the pressure as well. By minimizing the actual fluid produced, you'll even potentially reduce the need for prostaglandin use.
Surgery To Increase Drainage
If the medication doesn't facilitate enough drainage in your eyes, your doctor may suggest that you pursue surgery. There are four different things that your doctor may consider for surgical treatment.
One option is to remove a small piece of the tissue from your eye to produce an outlet for drainage. This is known as a trabeculectomy. Another choice is the insertion of a tube in your eye to help encourage fluid to drain. This is called a tube-shunt procedure. Your doctor may also suggest laser surgery. A trabeculoplasty is a procedure in which an opening is created with a directed laser. Procedures like a sclerostomy involve removing small portions of the white of your eye with the laser.
Treatments To Maintain Drainage Outlets
A process called drainage preservation is also popular when medications don't work. It is typically used for closed-angle glaucoma, but it works well for those patients whose drainage outlets are too narrow naturally. This procedure creates an opening in the iris to help encourage fluid to drain. It can be done with traditional surgical tools or through laser surgery. In most clinics, laser surgery is the recommended approach, but severe cases do necessitate traditional surgery. Your doctor will evaluate the severity of your symptoms and help you to determine which treatment method is going to be the most effective.
Treatments To Minimize Fluid Production
If you attempt all of the available treatments to no avail, your doctor may suggest one final treatment option. This surgical treatment requires an incision to remove the entire ciliary body of your eye. If you're not familiar, the ciliary body is the one that actually produces the fluid. By removing it, your doctor will interrupt that fluid production. Since it stops all fluid production in your eye, it isn't usually considered until every other potential treatment has been exhausted and proven to be unsuccessful. In addition, your doctor will also consider the scar tissue production and its effect on your ability to undergo further surgeries for drainage purposes. If there's too much scar tissue in your eye from previous surgeries, it can make further drainage surgeries challenging. In those cases, your doctor may recommend this kind of intervention instead. You may then be prescribed a series of eye drops to combat the dryness that will result from the process.
With so many ways to treat glaucoma, it's highly likely that your doctor will find a treatment plan that will work for you. Whether you're able to control the condition with eye drops or you need further surgery, there's sure to be a way for you to manage the condition. If you're struggling with the pressure in your eyes, talk with an optometrist today at a clinic like Montgomery Eye Center to see what options are available to help you combat it.