You take the time to worry about your heart and your lungs, so why wouldn't you think about your eye health? If you are like most people, it might be because you don't know that much about how to take care of your eyes. Fortunately, I have been working with other people to teach them about eye health for the past twenty years. My father lost his eyesight because of a few bad decisions, and I don't want to see other people go down that path. Read here to learn why you should exercise, eat right, and see your eye doctor regularly.
When you are diagnosed with glaucoma, your doctor will usually start by prescribing one or more medications to hopefully bring the condition under closer control. These medications may include prostaglandin eye drops, beta blockers, and carbonic anhydrase inhibitors. Some patients respond well to these medications, and others continue to experience increasing intraocular eye pressure in spite of taking their meds. If meds have not controlled your glaucoma sufficiently, then here are a few treatments your eye doctor may recommend as next steps.
Glaucoma results, at least in part, from holes that develop in the blood vessels in the back of your eye. These holes essentially make the blood vessels leaky, thereby allowing fluid to build up within the eye and increase intraocular pressure. The back of your eye also has a mesh-like tissue called the trabecular meshwork. Fluid can drain through this tissue, thereby decreasing the pressure within the eye. A laser trabeculoplasty, then, is a procedure that creates more holes in the trabecular meshwork, which allows it to let more fluid escape from within the eye, lowering the pressure.
A laser trabeculoplasty is not painful. Your eye doctor will use special drops to numb your eye, and then you will remain seated with a laser device over your eye for a few minutes. All you'll see are flashes of light as the laser does its work. After treatment, you'll need to lay low and avoid straining your eyes for a few days, using anti-inflammatory eye drops to assist with healing.
If your eye doctor does not feel that creating extra holes in your trabecular meshwork will allow for enough fluid drainage — either because your eye pressure is too high or your trabecular meshwork is not in great shape — they may recommend this procedure instead. A microtrabeculectomy involves the placement of tiny tubes inside the eye. These tubes give the intraocular fluid a way to drain out towards the conjunctiva, which is the outer lining of your eye.
A microtrabeculectomy is usually done with a local anesthetic to numb the eyes and a sedative to keep you calm. The procedure is performed with tiny instruments and the guidance of a computer to minimize the margin of error. Recovery is simple — a few days of wearing protective goggles and using antibiotic eye drops, and you'll be set to go.
If glaucoma meds have not worked well for you, then there is a good chance your eye doctor will recommend one of the above surgeries. Contact a local eye care center for more insight into which one is the best option for you.