Glaucoma is a serious eye condition that causes damage to vital parts of the eye, leading to progressive, irreversible vision loss. The small ducts near the front of the eye become blocked, reducing the amount of fluid allowed to leave the eye naturally.
This causes pressure in the eye to increase to dangerous levels, damaging the retina and optic nerve. A build-up of debris is often the cause, known as open-angle glaucoma. In some cases, glaucoma occurs because the iris and cornea – the colored part of the eye and the transparent front section – have moved too close together. This is known as closed-angle glaucoma.
Glaucoma is the second most common cause of vision loss and blindness globally. The risk of developing glaucoma increases with age, but it can occur in younger people too. Other risk factors include diabetes and a prior family history of glaucoma. It can develop in one eye or both, either separately or simultaneously.
Signs of early-onset glaucoma include a gradual loss of peripheral vision, which often goes unnoticed by the patient until the condition has become more serious. This is one of the reasons why it’s so important to attend regular sight tests with a qualified eye doctor.
With early diagnosis and treatment, such as glaucoma removal surgery, it is possible to alleviate the symptoms of glaucoma and prevent further damage to the eye.
How Can It be Treated?
There are a variety of ways to treat glaucoma, including prescription eye drops, laser surgery, and conventional filtering microsurgery. Although there is no cure for glaucoma, glaucoma removal surgery can help to stabilize vision and halt further vision loss.
Glaucoma Removal Surgery
The goal of glaucoma removal surgery is to reduce or stabilize intraocular pressure. Recent studies indicate that selective laser trabeculoplasty may be the most effective method of combating glaucoma. Glaucoma removal surgery decreases intraocular pressure by enhancing the eye’s ability to drain fluid.
A surgeon creates microscopic holes at the point where the cornea and iris meet using a laser. This increases the outward flow of fluid from the eye.
This involves the creation of a small channel in the sclera – the white part of the eye. This channel is covered by a thin flap of scleral tissue to allow fluid to leave the eye.
Iridotomy and Iridectomy
An iridotomy involves using a laser to create a hole in the iris for fluid to exit through. In an iridectomy, a piece of the iris is surgically removed to achieve the same effect.
Minimally Invasive Glaucoma Surgeries
Minimally invasive glaucoma surgery includes a range of newer procedures including a trabecular bypass, where a surgeon implants microscopic tubes to facilitate the release of fluid from the eye. Another is a trabectome, where the surgeon removes a small section of the eye’s drainage system. Most of these surgeries do not penetrate the eye as deeply as others.
These are often considered the safest options when it comes to glaucoma removal surgery. They pose less risk of potential complications like infection and hypotony – when eye pressure becomes too low. These surgeries also typically take less time to complete.
It is crucial to recognize and treat glaucoma as soon as possible. Glaucoma symptoms can go unnoticed by the patient until the condition has significantly worsened, so regular sight tests are crucial for diagnosing glaucoma in its early stages.
While it is not possible to regain lost sight, it is possible to prevent any further damage to your vision. Contact an ophthalmologist to discuss your options and find out if you’re a candidate for glaucoma removal surgery.