Depending upon the type of glaucoma, there are several ways to treat this series of diseases; unfortunately, there is no cure for glaucoma. One of the most common forms of open angle glaucoma treatment is the use of medications, most specifically, topical eye drops. Other treatments include pills, laser surgery, or other forms of surgery.
For patients who have been diagnosed with narrow angle glaucoma, a simple laser surgery may be recommended: a laser peripheral iridotomy. During this in-office (out-patient) procedure, a small hole is created in the iris. This microscopic hole allows for another route for the aqueous fluid to enter the anterior chamber, and allows the iris to fall away from the drainage angle.
As with any surgical procedure, there are some risks to Laser Peripheral Iridotomy. However, the risks of the procedure are minimal and if the procedure is recommended, the benefit of the procedure in reducing the risk of angle closure glaucoma outweighs the risk of the procedure. Some of the risks include blurred vision, slight bleeding or inflammation within the eye. Some people notice a twinkle or flicker of light or shadow image after the procedure. These symptoms can arise from the side effect of light entering the small hole in the iris. This side effect of the procedure is very unusual. Occasionally, the procedure needs to be repeated if the iridotomy heals over.
Laser treatment of the drainage angle tissue can be a useful treatment for some types of open angle glaucoma.
Other Glaucoma Surgeries
In some rare instances, glaucoma is not adequately controlled through the use of topical eye drops, oral medications or laser surgeries. For these patients, it may be necessary to undergo a more involved surgery to further decrease eye pressure. There are several surgeries that can help treat glaucoma.
The type of treatment that the doctor recommends is based upon the type and severity of the glaucoma. General eye health and age are also factors in determining which treatment option is most appropriate. Surgery can help to lower eye pressure when conventional treatments, such as eye drops, are insufficient at maintaining an adequately low eye pressure. Unfortunately, there are no current treatments that can reverse vision loss that has resulted from glaucoma. It is the goal of your eye doctor to preserve the vision and to decrease the chance of additional damage and loss of vision.