What is glaucoma treatment and how does glaucoma treatment work?
What is glaucoma treatment, and how does it work? There are different types of glaucoma treatments. The mainstay of glaucoma treatments is to reduce intraocular (eye) pressure to slow down or stop the disease from worsening. First of all, it is essential to determine the type of glaucoma you have and the severity of the condition, which will help determine the right glaucoma treatment to recommend.
Different forms of glaucoma treatment
There are three broad categories of glaucoma treatments. There are medical treatments, usually eye drops, laser and surgical treatments.
- Medical treatments work fairly quickly – within hours to days – to lower intraocular (eye) pressure. There are at least five different drug groups that can lower eye pressure by different mechanisms. There are also combinations of the medications that make it easier for patients to use when the treatment needs to be stronger than a single medication. When we recommend a medical treatment to you, we take into account the medication you are already taking so that we avoid drug interactions. While patients use most eye medications without any problems, we do go through what the potential side effects might be. We also recommend we see you after a few weeks on the medication to measure whether it is effective and whether you are experiencing any problems.
- We use a laser treatment called a laser peripheral iridotomy to treat Angle Closure Glaucoma. It results in the opening up of the drainage angle. You still need monitoring afterwards to monitor the results. Another laser treatment called selective laser trabeculoplasty is used to treat Open Angle Glaucoma. It reduces eye pressure by improving the outflow through your existing drainage system. While we usually apply it as a one-off, we can repeat it if its effect wears off with time.
- A surgical treatment called trabeculectomy is used to treat Open Angle Glaucoma. We use this when the aim is to get the eye pressure a lot lower compared to that achieved with other treatments. It is usually recommended to patients when other treatments do not work or when patients have developed intolerable side effects with other treatments. If the severity of your disease is worsening despite receiving glaucoma treatments (after medical & laser treatments have been tried), then it might be essential to lower your eye pressure which is when we might recommend a trabeculectomy. Another more recently developed surgical treatment is called microinvasive glaucoma surgery, which is used to treat Open Angle Glaucoma. This type of surgery involves using devices that we put inside the eye to lower the pressure. We can offer this treatment as a stand-alone treatment. We usually provide microinvasive glaucoma surgery with cataract surgery since it is straightforward to perform both operations at the same time. We use this treatment to lower eye pressure and reduce the number of medicines that some glaucoma patients take for their disease.
A final glaucoma treatment is cataract extraction and artificial lens implant for the treatment of Angle Closure Glaucoma. This treatment enables the drainage angle to open up and consequently the eye pressure to reduce by improved outflow.
The important thing about lowering your eye pressure is that it is proven that reducing the eye pressure will slow down or stop your disease progressing. You still need regular monitoring afterwards to make sure that the treatment is continuing to work.