The biggest cause of this damage is high pressure inside the eye. There is no perfect pressure for all patients. If you have glaucoma, your doctor will tell you the best pressure for your eyes. This is often referred to as your “target pressure” because it is the number that you and your doctor aim to reach with treatment.
Based on a number of factors, your doctor will recommend the right treatment for you. Here are some of those treatment options:
MIGS (Minimally-Invasion Glaucoma Surgery)
While there is no cure for glaucoma, treatment is aimed at lowering intraocular pressure to prevent vision loss. Oftentimes, medicated eye drops are enough to lower the eye pressure nominally. Medications must be taken daily to keep eye pressure at a safe level. Here are some tips to help you stay on track with your medication routine:
- Make a schedule: Write down the name, dosage, and number of times your medication(s)
should be taken each day.
- Use an alarm or smartphone to set reminders. There are many smartphone apps now available.
- Schedule medications around daily routines like waking and mealtime. Remember that twice a day means every 12 hours, for example, 7 am and 7 pm.
- Put your medications and your schedule in a place where you will see them often, such as on the refrigerator door or above your desk at work.
- If you forget to use your eye drops, put them in as soon as you remember instead of waiting until the next scheduled time. Get back on your regular schedule for the next dose.
- Always check with your doctor if you are not sure about any part of your medication routine. You may want to demonstrate for your doctor how you put in your eye drops to be sure you are doing it most effectively.
Eye drops can be tricky. Click here to see some tips for how to insert into your eyes properly.
In some cases laser procedures or more complex surgeries are necessary. It is important to understand that Glaucoma damage is permanent—it cannot be reversed. Our treatment plans are aimed at preventing future optic nerve damage or vision loss.
Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT), often a first-line treatment for Open-Angle Glaucoma, can also be effective in patients already on eye drops. SLT uses low levels of laser light to improve drainage of intraocular fluid through the natural drainage pathway out of the eye.
MIGS (Minimally-Invasion Glaucoma Surgery), procedures have been developed in recent years to treat patients earlier and more safely than conventional surgery. MIGS procedures include microsurgical instruments and devices and smaller incisions that manipulate the eye tissues less and therefore reduce the risk of complications.
During Trabeculectomy Surgery, a tiny opening is made in the sclera (the white part of the eye) with a small surgical instrument. This new opening allows the intraocular fluid to bypass the clogged drainage canals and directly flow out of this new opening. The opening is covered by conjunctiva creating a bleb on the sclera. This procedure requires stitches and the recovery period is usually a few weeks.
During Tube Shunt Surgery, a tiny tube is implanted that drains fluid out of the eye. Like trabeculectomy, this conventional surgery also requires stitches and the recovery period is usually a few weeks.
YOUR ROLE IN TREATING GLAUCOMA
Once you are taking medications for glaucoma, your ophthalmologist will want to see you regularly. You can expect to visit your ophthalmologist about every 3–6 months. However, this can vary depending on your treatment needs.
If you have any questions about your eyes or your treatment, talk to your ophthalmologist.
Tips For Working With Your Doctor:
- Keep a good record of your appointment date and time, and make sure you have enough time planned for the visit. Glaucoma visits can take quite some time as there are multiple test that need to be performed throughout the year. Ask the appointment specialist how long your visit should take while scheduling.
- Let your eye doctor know if, for any reason, your medications are not working for you or if your daily routine has changed. Your doctor may be able to solve such problems by changing the type or timing of your medications.
- Report any new symptoms to your eye doctor such as redness, irritation, itching, tearing, or decreased vision. Symptoms that you have may be related to the disease or to side effects or complications of medication or surgery.
- Bring all of your medications and an updated list to your appointment. This not only allows your doctor to see what you are currently using and how often but also allows you to check the need for refills. Be honest about how regularly you have been taking your eye drops, as this may influence treatment decisions. Any new medication added by other doctors should be mentioned to your glaucoma doctor.
- Schedule your next appointment before you leave the doctor’s office and put the appointment on your calendar.
- Use the medical support team. Trained staff at your doctor’s office, such as technicians and nurses, can be an enormous support to helping you manage your disease. These knowledgeable professionals can often give you the information, time, and attention that
can make a big difference. We are here for you!