It all starts with an eye exam!
All glaucoma surgery procedures (whether laser or non-laser) are designed to accomplish one of two basic results: decrease the production of intraocular fluid (aqueous humor) or increase the outflow (drainage) of this same fluid. Occasionally, a procedure will accomplish both.
Currently, the goal of glaucoma surgery and other glaucoma treatment is to reduce or stabilize intraocular pressure (IOP). When this goal is accomplished, damage to ocular structures — especially the optic nerve — may be prevented.
When Is Glaucoma Surgery Needed?
Most cases of glaucoma can be controlled with one or more drugs, but in some cases, surgery may be either preferred or more effective. Sometimes, surgery can eliminate the need for glaucoma eye drops. But this is not always the case.
There are two main types of laser surgery to treat glaucoma. They help aqueous drain from the eye. These procedures are usually done in the ophthalmologist’s office or an outpatient surgery center.
- Trabeculoplasty. This surgery is for people who have open-angle glaucoma. The eye surgeon uses a laser to make the drainage angle work better. That way fluid flows out properly and eye pressure is reduced.
- Iridotomy. This is for people who have angle-closure glaucoma. The ophthalmologist uses a laser to create a tiny hole in the iris. This hole helps fluid flow to the drainage angle.
Minimally Invasive Glaucoma Surgery (MIGS) is a group of operations for glaucoma that use much smaller incisions and implants or devices to help lower the eye pressure. The advantage of MIGS is that there is usually less risk and faster recovery than more traditional glaucoma operations. MIGS can be done at the same time as cataract surgery or in some cases by itself. The best candidates for MIGS are those patients with mild to moderate glaucoma although some types of MIGS can be appropriate for individuals with more advanced glaucoma as well. If you have glaucoma the surgeons at Vision Associates can talk to you about whether you are a candidate for MIGS.
Treating glaucoma successfully is a team effort between you and your doctor. Your ophthalmologist will prescribe your glaucoma treatment. It is up to you to follow your doctor’s instructions and use your eye drops. Once you are taking medications for glaucoma, your ophthalmologist will want to see you regularly. You can expect to visit your Vision Associates ophthalmologist about every 3–6 months. However, this can vary depending on your treatment needs.
If you have any questions about your eyes or your treatment, talk to your Vision Associates ophthalmologist.