Glaucoma, or optic nerve damage, is the second leading cause of blindness in America and affects over 3 million adults each year. There is a certain urgency felt about treating glaucoma, as unlike other vision issues, there is no way to reverse glaucoma once it has already damaged the optic nerves. This is why medical science has been racing for a viable solution for glaucoma treatment. At Wichita Vision Institute in Witchita, KS, Dr. Patel is confident that OMNI surgery is one of the most reliable and innovative surgeries for glaucoma.
What Is OMNI?
OMNI is a single-use surgical tool that helps correct the main cause of glaucoma, which is a build-up of fluid that puts pressure on the optic nerve that results in irreversible damage. This surgery is an innovative combination of two leading treatments for glaucoma, meaning the procedure addresses both the cause of glaucoma and the need for preventative measures against further glaucoma at the same time.
How Does This Surgery Work?
You can think of this surgery system as the installation of a drain in the eye which releases fluid pressure placed on the optic nerve. OMNI is sometimes referred to as a micro-catheter as it uses as a 360-degree method to restore the drainage system in the eye to stop fluid from building pressure. This is a minimally-invasive surgical treatment that can greatly improve or correct sight issues caused by glaucoma.
Will You Need a Consultation?
For this surgery, you will have to attend a consultation appointment as well as an extensive pre-operative exam. The consultation will include gathering your medical information, particularly any family history of glaucoma, the symptoms you are enduring, and how long symptoms have been present. Dr. Patel will examine your eyes and discuss all treatment options that are available to you.
At your pre-operative examination, Dr. Patel will gather several measurements about your eyes, including tonometry, gonioscopy, ophthalmoscopy, perimetry, and optical coherence tomography.
Each of these measurements will check your intraocular pressure, the drainage angle of your eye, an assessment of your retina and optic nerves, and your baseline visual field. These measurements will help Dr. Patel decide if OMNI is the right treatment for you, or if another glaucoma treatment is more appropriate for your particular needs.
What Steps Are Involved in Treatment?
There are a few steps that are involved in this treatment. If you are only having glaucoma surgery, then the three main steps you can anticipate include:
Step One: IV Sedative and Anesthetic Eye Drops
We will give you a mild IV sedative and administer anesthetic eye drops to prepare you for surgery. Both the sedative and the anesthetic drops will keep you comfortable for the duration of the treatment.
Step Two: Incision and Microcatheter
A small incision will be made over your cornea to access the natural drain of your eye, generally about 2 to 4mm wide. The incision allows Dr. Patel to insert a small micro-catheter into this natural drain to deliver elastic fluid to the eye. Sometimes it is necessary to remove Trabecular meshwork at the top of the natural drain. Thermal energy is used to free the natural flow of fluid in the eye.
Step Three: Closing
Once all steps of your surgery have been complete, the incisions will be closed and you will be directed to rest before attending your post-operative examination with Dr. Patel.
How Long Does Treatment Take?
This procedure takes about 10 to 15 minutes to complete from start to finish, making it one of the quickest eye surgeries available.
What Is Recovery Like?
The time it will take for you to recover from glaucoma surgery varies patient to patient depending on the severity of glaucoma, the age of the patient, and how well you respond to the treatment. Overall, most patients recover from this surgery within 3 to 6 weeks, with the majority of patients free to return to all normal daily activities, including work and exercise, within 3 to 7 days after treatment.
During your post-operative examination, Dr. Patel will give you a list of post-treatment instructions to follow during your recovery, as well as certain prescriptions to use, such as antibiotics or medical-grade eye drops. Some post-treatment instructions include:
- Use your prescriptions
- Avoid direct sunlight
- No touching or rubbing the eye
- Do not wear eye make-up
- Avoid strenuous activity and heavy lifting
Aside from your immediate follow-up appointment with Dr. Patel, you will also be asked to attend one or more appointments during your recovery time to assess how well you are healing from the surgery. These appointments will also determine if surgery was effective for releasing pressure on your optic nerve, or if other treatments need to be considered.
What Results Should You Expect?
Many patients report experiencing better or clearer vision as soon as 24 to 48 hours after treatment. However, results for this treatment are generally most apparent within 1 to 3 weeks following the procedure. For some patients, vision isn’t fully restored until 6 weeks post-operation.
How Long Do Results Last?
Results for glaucoma surgery are very rarely permanent, however the results of this treatment are long-lasting. Some patients can enjoy the results of this surgery for 18 months or more at a time, making it one of the longer-lasting and sustainable treatments for chronic glaucoma, especially glaucoma that is hereditary.
Glaucoma Surgery FAQ
1. What Is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is actually an umbrella term referring to a collection of eye disorders that cause fluid pressure to build-up in the eye, which eventually damages the optic nerve. All types of glaucoma are caused by a faulty natural drain in the eye, which prevents eye fluid from being drained normally.
A good way to think about glaucoma is to compare it to a river dam that builds up too much pressure and ends up causing massive floods or damage. Glaucoma damages the optic nerve because the eye is only able to withstand a certain amount of intraocular pressure; when there is too much damage on the optic nerves, visual perception and vision begin to suffer.
If untreated, glaucoma can result in permanent loss of vision from the damaged optic nerve. However, there are many treatments for glaucoma that can delay or prevent the worsening of optic nerve damage.
While there are many symptoms that are associated with all types of glaucoma, the most common symptoms include:
- Blurred vision
- Blank spots in vision
- Eye pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- Red eyes
- Halos in vision
- Increased difficulty seeing
- Sudden vision loss
- Excessive tearing
- Uneven eye size
2. What Causes Glaucoma?
There are several causes of glaucoma, which ultimately means it may be difficult to pin the cause of your glaucoma down to any one cause, especially if you have multiple factors, such as both family history and disease. The main causes of glaucoma include:
- Elevated eye pressure
- Family history
- Farsightedness or nearsightedness
- Past eye injuries
- African, Spanish, Asian ancestry
- Thinner central corneal thickness
- Migraine headaches
- Poor circulation
Glaucoma does not only happen to adults – infants and toddlers can also develop glaucoma, especially if there is a congenital disorder or family history. This means that age is not always a factor in the development of glaucoma, so it is possible for people of any age to develop this disorder.
3. Can You Have Glaucoma and Cataract Surgery at the Same Time?
Yes. It is perfectly possible to combine both glaucoma and cataract surgery into one procedure. This is because it is common for these two conditions to be comorbid or co-occurring with each other.
Cataracts, the clouding of the lens over the cornea, and glaucoma, intraocular pressure damaging the optic nerve, can happen at the same time, particularly to older adults or adults who have diseases such as diabetes.
Cataract surgery involves clearing away the cloudy film on the natural lens over the pupil, which can distort vision and make it impossible to see. Cataract surgery usually includes breaking up and extracting cataracts from the eye, and then inserting an artificial lens called an intraocular lens that helps correct vision.
There are many intraocular lenses to select from when you have independent cataract surgery or cataract surgery combined with glaucoma surgery. For example, PanOptix are multifocal lens that corrects vision from three focal points, near, intermediate, and far.
Toric and Toric II lenses are also multifocal but are generally more commonly used to help with nearsighted vision and the ability to see in dimmer light. If you need intraocular lenses, Dr. Patel will help you determine the lenses that are best suited to your vision needs.
4. Do You Need to Get Glaucoma Surgery?
Glaucoma is a condition that will not resolve itself – in fact, it will get worse over time and may cause blindness if left untreated. If you have glaucoma, then it is strongly recommended you seek glaucoma surgery to prevent further vision complications. It’s best to seek glaucoma surgery when the symptoms of glaucoma begin to appear, especially if those symptoms include blank spots in your vision or sudden vision loss.
5. What Are Other Treatments for Glaucoma?
There are other treatments for glaucoma that might help manage the build-up of eye fluid that causes pressure to be placed on the optic nerve. For example, oral medications and eye drops are sometimes used to slow the pressurization of fluid in the eye.
There are also laser treatments that can unblock the natural drain in the eye, which will release fluid pressure. Sometimes medication and laser surgery are used together or as an alternative to drainage surgeries for glaucoma.
6. Will You Need Another Surgery?
It is likely that you will require another surgery in the future, largely because glaucoma is considered a chronic condition. While the results of this surgery may last for a few years, the results are not permanent, and to prevent future vision impairment, you will likely require another treatment.
8. Are There Any Medical Restrictions?
No, there are no medical restrictions associated with this procedure. In fact, this glaucoma surgery is compatible with all people who have glaucoma, regardless of the angle of their natural drainage system. Some other treatments for glaucoma require certain drain angles that limit accessibility.
9. Are You a Good Candidate for OMNI?
Anyone who requires a lowering of intraocular pressure associated with glaucoma is a good candidate for this procedure. If you are enduring symptoms of glaucoma, even mild symptoms, then you are qualified for this treatment.
Protect Your Sight With OMNI Glaucoma Surgery
Glaucoma can be a terrifying chronic condition to have, as it can result in permanent loss of vision. However, there are more treatments for glaucoma than ever, which means no patient is left behind when they seek help. If you think that OMNI might be right for you, please contact Wichita Vision Institute in Witchita, KS to schedule your consultation.