Glaucoma, a common cause of blindness, is a condition in which pressure builds up within the eye and eventually damages the optic nerve. Glaucoma is sometimes described as the “sneak thief of vision,” for it attacks peripheral vision first. Many patients don’t even realize they have a problem until the disease is fairly advanced. If you have or suspect you may have this condition, you should seek proper glaucoma treatment as soon as possible.
Types of Glaucoma
Wide-angle or open-angle glaucoma is the most common type. It’s caused by abnormalities within the trabecular meshwork, which is supposed to drain excess fluid from the eye. The fluid therefore doesn’t drain properly, and pressure builds up within the eye.
Angle-closure glaucoma, also known as acute glaucoma or narrow-angle glaucoma, is caused by an abnormally narrow angle between the cornea and the iris. Unlike wide-angle glaucoma, which is chronic, angle-closure glaucoma can develop suddenly. It is more common in Asia than in Western countries.
How Is It Treated?
Dr. Patel may first provide glaucoma treatment by prescribing eye drops. They will either reduce the amount of fluid being formed or increase its outflow. The eyedrops will be absorbed by both the eyes and the patients’ bloodstream. The patient should close their eyes and press against the eyelid nearest their nose to reduce the amount going through the tear duct to their bloodstream. In some cases, Dr. Patel may also prescribe oral medications to bolster the effects of the eye drops. The pills have the same effects on the patient’s eyes as the drops do.
If the eye drops or pills don’t work or cause severe side effects, the doctor will then recommend surgery. There are several different possible procedures, and some only work for one type of glaucoma.
Trabeculoplasty is the most common procedure performed on patients with open-angle glaucoma. It’s a type of laser surgery, and it is an outpatient procedure that can typically be completed in less than ten minutes. The procedure is performed by aiming the laser at the trabecular meshwork and alters it so it will drain fluid more readily. The procedure should cause no discomfort. The patient may have to continue taking their medications for a few more weeks until their eye has completely healed.
Laser peripheral iridotomy (LPI) is a procedure performed on patients with angle-closure glaucoma. Dr. Patel makes a new drain through the iris and thus lets the fluid bypass the clogged meshwork.
If medications and laser surgery don’t help, Dr. Patel may recommend conventional surgery. After evaluating your situation, she will go over your options for surgery and let you know what you can expect.
If you are living with glaucoma, there are several different effective methods of glaucoma treatment available. Dr. Patel can help you explore your glaucoma treatment options at the Wichita Vision Institute in Wichita. Contact us today to schedule your first appointment and learn more.