Glaucoma – Surgery, Causes and Procedure

Glaucoma is a condition in which the optic nerves are damaged. The optic nerve is responsible for carrying the impulses from eye to brain, damage caused to optic nerve thus leads to loss of vision or complete blindness. Aging is the primary risk factor for developing glaucoma.

What is glaucoma?

A glaucoma is a group of eye disorders which is characterized by damage to the optic nerve. It usually occurs when an extra amount of fluid builds up the pressure in front part of the eye and damages the optic nerve. Mostly, glaucoma doesn’t show any early signs and symptoms.

Glaucoma can be categorized as:

  • Primary open-angle glaucoma
  • Angle-closure glaucoma
Who can develop glaucoma ?

Individuals at any age can develop glaucoma. However, few individuals who are at a greater risk of developing the condition are:

  • Older people (above 60 years of age)
  • Individuals with a family history of glaucoma
  • Frequent steroid users
  • Individuals having diabetes
  • Extremely high blood pressure
How is glaucoma treated ?

An abnormal or high intraocular pressure (IOP) indicates an excess amount of fluid in the eyes. Early detection and diagnosis can delay the progression of the disease. Glaucoma can be treated by the use of anti-glaucoma medications, laser trabeculoplasty or by a conventional surgery. Few medications like eye drops can cure glaucoma at early stages.

What is Laser trabeculoplasty ?

Laser trabeculoplasty is an ideal procedure that is used to treat glaucoma. It is used to treat open-angle glaucoma by decreasing the high intraocular pressure.

Before the surgery

Before undergoing the surgery, the doctor examines the eye and prescribes eye drops. This will help in decreasing the pressure in the eyes. Glaucoma medicines can be used in a regular way. Usage of stronger blood thinners must be stopped before the laser treatment. The technician will initially check the pressure and review the medical history.

During the procedure

The surgeon administers topical anesthesia to the patient to numb the eye region. Glaucoma eye drops are administered prior to the surgery as an anti-inflammatory medication. This will prevent the sudden increase of pressure in the eye after the laser treatment. The surgical procedure takes approximately 10 to 15 minutes and is a painless treatment method. A high-intensity laser beam is focused on the eye to allow the fluid to drain.

Postoperative care

After undergoing laser trabeculoplasty, the patient must continue the use of antibiotic eye drops as prescribed by the doctor. The patient may experience blurred vision and irritation in the eyes. This is a quite normal condition which can be reduced by using anti-inflammatory drops. Over-the-counter pain medications can be used to ease the pain. After the discharge, the patient must ensure regular eye checkups in order to monitor the improvement.

Complications after surgery

The following are certain complications that are associated with laser trabeculoplasty:

  • Postoperative inflammations
  • Elevated IOP levels
  • Hyphema
  • Corneal Haze
  • Macular edema