Traditional Glaucoma Treatments
Traditionally, glaucoma has been treated with medicated eyedrops, pills, laser surgery, traditional incisional surgery or some combination of those methods aimed at reducing intraocular pressure. Although glaucoma cannot be cured, with early detection and proper medical or surgical treatment, it is often possible to prevent irreversible vision loss due to glaucoma.
Glaucoma Eye Drops
There are a number of medicated eye drops doctors currently recommend to treat glaucoma. Some eyedrops are designed to decrease the amount of fluid made by the eye; others are used to help improve the way fluid exits the eye. Some drops work by doing both. Many people take a combination of drops to control glaucoma.
One of the problems with using drops to manage glaucoma is issues of compliance. Many patients don’t take them regularly as prescribed because they can cause uncomfortable side effects, or because they are expensive or inconvenient.
If eyedrops do not achieve the desired results, or if there are issues with side effects or taking the drops as prescribed, laser or traditional incisional surgery is an option.
Laser surgery is an increasingly popular way to treat glaucoma. Although everyone responds differently, some people respond well enough to laser glaucoma surgery to avoid or delay traditional incisional surgery. Some patients are also able to stop using glaucoma medications.
There are a few different types of laser surgery. The most popular procedure for open-angle glaucoma is laser trabeculoplasty. During the 10-15-minute procedure, which can be performed in the doctor’s office or an outpatient surgical facility, laser energy is directed at the eye’s drainage angle. It creates subtle changes to the drainage angle that allow fluid to easily pass through and exit the eye. The result is a reduction in intraocular pressure.
For the more serious angle-closure glaucoma, laser peripheral iridotomy creates a small opening in the iris that allows fluid to bypass the normal route and exit the eye.
Traditional Incisional Surgery
Although many doctors try other treatment modalities to avoid conventional incisional surgery, sometimes it becomes necessary to achieve results.
The most common conventional surgical procedure is trabeculectomy, during which a tiny channel is created in the white part of the eye to help drain fluid and lower intraocular pressure.
First, the surgeon makes a tiny incision in the conjunctiva, the clear lining covering the sclera (the white part of the eye). This incision is made under the upper eyelid, near the iris. The surgeon creates a small flap in the sclera under the incision and removes a tiny portion of tissue under the flap to make a new opening in the eye. A small piece of iris may also be removed to avoid blocking this opening. The opening acts as a new channel for fluid to drain from the eye. The flap is sewn back into place to help prevent too much fluid draining at once. The area where the fluid drains is called a bleb, and as fluid drains into the bleb, it creates a tiny bubble (however, because the bleb is under the eyelid, it is usually not noticeable).
Trabeculectomy is generally performed on an outpatient basis and the eye is numbed for complete comfort.
New thinking among vision scientists and glaucoma researchers is that nutritional therapy can combat the underlying causes of optic nerve damage in glaucoma patients. Nutrition therapies, like GlaucoCetin, work by targeting the health and proper function of the mitochondrial cells in the optic nerve. (These cells become ill and die during glaucoma.) The optic nerve cells are very important for maintaining visual function. Targeting the underlying health of these cells can help to protect this important area of the eyes.
For more information about traditional treatments for glaucoma, please speak with your eye doctor or contact Guardion Health Sciences today.