While glaucoma cannot be cured, we can usually control it by decreasing the pressure within the eye with drops, lasers, or surgery. With early treatment, glaucomatous vision loss may be minimized or stopped.
To control glaucoma, your doctor will use one of three basic types of treatment: medicines, laser surgery, or filtration surgery. The goal of treatment is to lower the pressure in the eye.
Medicines come in pill and eye drop form. They work by either slowing the production of fluid within the eye or by improving the flow through the drainage meshwork. Most glaucoma medications must be taken between one to three times every day, without fail to be effective. Most of the eye drops are well tolerated and have minimal side effects. The doctor will choose the drop or drops that will be most effective. You should never stop taking these medicines without consulting your doctor, and you should notify all of your other doctors about the medications you are taking.
Argon Laser Trabeculoplasty and Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty surgery treat the drainage canal. Once we’ve numbed you eye with numbing eye drops, we apply the laser beam to the trabecular meshwork resulting in an improved rate of drainage. When laser surgery is successful, it may reduce or eliminate the need for daily medications.
Endoscopic CycloPhotocoagulation (ECP) is another type of laser procedure. Instead of treating the drainage canal, it treats the ciliary body. Treating the ciliary body reduces the amount of fluid production, thereby reducing the intraocular pressure.
ECP is most often performed along with cataract surgery but can be done on an outpatient basis when in the best interest of the patient. The majority of patients having ECP reduce or eliminate their need to take glaucoma medications.
Minimally invasive glaucoma surgery (MIGS) is a newer class of surgical procedure that all involve using microscopic-sized equipment and incisions to reduce some of the complications and healing time of traditional glaucoma procedures.
We perform filtration surgery when medicines and/or laser surgery are unsuccessful in controlling eye pressure. During this microscopic procedure, we create a new drainage channel to allow fluid to drain from the eye.