Glaucoma Laser Eye Treatment

A decision to have glaucoma laser eye treatment to decrease the production of intraocular fluid or increase the drainage of fluid can help to ease the pressure in the eyes for people who have glaucoma. Glaucoma is a condition in which intraocular pressure (IOP) of the eye is too high. A person with too much aqueous humor or eye fluid will have this pressure build up. When the pressure does build up it can cause optic nerve damage and vision loss. An average pressure reading, around 15, is what most people without the condition have. Some people actually have a higher IOP, say about 21, when no risk for glaucoma exists. But, in general, people who have a pressure reading that is high should be checked out at least once a year for changes to pressure. This eye condition is often referred to as the "silent thief of sight." Typically, there is no pain or other symptoms to indicate that there is a problem brewing. Therefore, glaucoma can often go undetected until it's too late. Once the damage has been done, it's irreversible and it comes with some degree of permanent loss of vision. Whether laser or non-laser, a glaucoma procedure is a last resort to stabilizing intraocular pressure. The obvious benefit of glaucoma laser eye treatment is to maintain one's vision.

There are actually two major types of glaucoma. One is called acute angle-closure, and the other is called chronic or primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG). Depending on which type of glaucoma a person has, there are different treatment options available. Besides glaucoma laser eye treatment, there are drops and pills that can be taken to alleviate pressure. Generally, the average person can get away with one of these treatment methods. Frankly, most symptoms can actually be managed with one or more medications. One of these medications, a frequently prescribed eye drop, is called prostaglandins. Doctors have had great success with this drug because it is used only once a day, and people are pretty faithful about taking it. Prostaglandins relaxes the eye's interior muscles to increase the drainage of fluids. Though an easy treatment, side effects, include stinging and burning. Not very pleasant, yet this treatment is effective. Another very interesting side effect, that is never present with glaucoma laser eye treatment is an increase of pigmentation in the iris; causing it to change colors. Actually, the iris gets darker than it was before using the drops. Somewhat strange, as side effects go, but not as weird as the most intriguing thing that happens. Eyelashes are lengthened and curled when a patient uses these drops regularly.

Once all the rage, beta-blockers were heavily used in treatment. Though, when these treatments were not longer effective for a person, glaucoma laser eye treatment would have been a next step. They decrease the amount of fluid that is produced. Prior to using beta-blocker, it is critical that a person give a complete medical history to their vision care professional, because the side effects of these drugs are much more serious than those of prostaglandins. Diabetes, heart and lung problems along with depression have been observed in people who have been prescribed this medication. Often, beta-blockers are used in combination with prostaglandins for maximum impact. One of the drugs increases drainage, while the other one limits production of fluid. For some, glaucoma laser eye treatment is a better solution. Oral doses of carbonic anhydrase inhibitors or CAI's are also commonly used to decrease the rate of aqueous humor production, but this medication is not well tolerated by about 50% of those who have been prescribed its use. Plus, there are a ton of side effects that make this a less than desirable treatment option for most doctors. Depression, loss of appetite, loss of libido, and general fatigue are unpleasant enough. But, when you add kidney stones, a metallic taste and tingling in fingers and toes, there is something to be said for long curly eyelashes.

When these therapies don't work, glaucoma laser eye treatment or other surgery types may be necessary. Selective laser trabeculoplasty is a procedure to increase the outflow of internal aqueous fluid. The ophthalmologist uses a laser to make tiny holes where the cornea and iris meet. This procedure is used with ongoing eye drop therapy. In some cases, the surgery is actually performed prior to a person using the eye drops. Another similar procedure is used for the same purpose. It is called a trabeculectomy. Part of the eye's drainage system is removed to allow for a larger amount of fluid to be drained out of the eye. A third common procedure is the implantation of a shunt. This device is surgically attached to the surface of eye in order to improve fluid drainage. A tiny tube is inserted through a hole made to allow for a better pathway for the fluid to come out. "And now, behold , the hand of the Lord is upon thee, and thou shalt be blind, not seeing the sun for a season. And immediately there fell on him a mist and a darkness; and he went about seeking some to lead him by the hand." (Acts 13:11) Surgery is not something that should be taken lightly. No matter which treatment or therapy is used to deal with the problems brought on my glaucoma, a person must be cautious and careful to make the right decision. There are usually no "do overs" in these types of procedures. Since each person is appoint only one pair of eyes, finding the right solution to deal with problems can be cumbersome. Glaucoma laser eye treatment is one of many solutions and remains very effective.

Glaucoma Eye Surgery

Medication and glaucoma eye surgery are two options for treating a condition which causes too much intraocular pressure and fluid buildup between the cornea and the iris. The cornea is the transparent membrane which protects the iris, the pigmented center of the eye. A commonly inherited disease, glaucoma affects people who have a family history of the condition, are over the age of 45, have been diagnosed with diabetes, or have failing eyesight. People with hypertension, or high blood pressure, are also at risk for developing visual impairment. As pressure and fluid builds, individuals experience damage to the optic nerve, resulting in a diminished capacity to see. Aside from genetic origins, the disorder can also result from blunt force trauma to the eye, severe infection and inflammation, or when blood vessels become blocked. Untreated, glaucoma can cause permanent blindness.

For reasons unknown, certain ethnic groups are more prone to the disorder than others, most notably African Americans, Hispanics, Japanese, Russians, Irish, and Scandinavians. While occurring less frequently, infants, children and young adults can also inherit the disease; but most are diagnosed later in life. Early detection via annual examinations by an ophthalmologist can prevent complications and glaucoma eye surgery. Physicians use tonometry, a relatively painless test, to assess the amount of intraocular pressure while patients' eyes are dilated. Checking the patient's visual field will also help the ophthalmologist gauge whether individuals have lost peripheral vision. Not having a spiritual vision, or knowledge of the will of God for one's life can not only lead to spiritual blindness, but also cause people to perish. "Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he" (Proverbs 29:18).

Glaucoma eye surgery may be prescribed for two types of the disorder: open-angle and angle-closure. The most common type of the disease, open- or wide-angle glaucoma, occurs when the aqueous humor, or fluid, fails to properly flow through the trabecular meshwork, a system which allows the eye to drain. Fewer cases of chronic or acute angle-closure disorders are diagnosed, which can be caused by a sudden buildup of pressure. Blunt force trauma or a chemical burn can cause a rapid buildup resulting in a narrowing of the angle between the iris and the cornea. Because this angle is too narrow, the flow of fluid is blocked, causing intraocular pressure to increase. Again, increased pressure constricts optic nerves and impairs vision.

Individuals with open-angle or angle-closure disorders may experience redness and pain in the eye, tunnel vision, vomiting and nausea, or begin seeing halos around lights. People may also lose the ability to see peripherally, or out of the corners of their eyes. Increased pressure can also cause headaches and blurred vision. Many people may dismiss blurred vision and pain, or attribute symptoms to the natural process of aging; however incidences of visual impairment, no matter how slight, should not be ignored. Because it is an inherited condition, detection and diagnosis may come too late and glaucoma eye surgery may be the only solution to save an individual's eyesight.

Before resorting to glaucoma eye surgery, ophthalmologists will administer medicinal eye drops to reduce fluid formation and increase drainage, which in some cases relieves symptoms. For severe cases and chronic pressure or narrowing, ophthalmologists may choose one of several surgical procedures: trabecloplasty, cyclophotocoagulation, or iridotomy. Each of these employs laser glaucoma surgery to increase drainage and eliminate blockage. A trebecloplasty uses a laser to increase the flow of fluid by pulling open the meshwork between the iris and the cornea. In cyclophotocoagulation, ophthalmologists target a laser beam at the cillary body to decrease fluid production. In an iridotomy, surgeons can also bore a microscopic hole into the iris to increase the flow of intraocular fluid and alleviate pressure buildup.

Options for glaucoma eye surgery also include a trabeculectomy, which creates a new outlet within the eye for improved drainage; or an implant to correct vision and alleviate pressure and buildup. The decision to undergo any type of surgery will be determined by the ophthalmologist's findings based on a tonometry or vision field test. The amount of blockage and pressure, the condition of blood vessels within the eye, and the extent to which the organ has been damaged are also factors in determining the patient's plan of care. While some conditions are reversible, glaucoma is not and there is no cure or measures individuals can take for prevention. Doctors recommend annual exams and visits to an ophthalmologist if symptoms should be present. Although by the time patients experience discomfort or visual impairment, the disease has already advanced. Medication and glaucoma eye surgery will only control the disorder and possibly prevent further deterioration and ultimately permanent blindness.

The best line of defense against glaucoma is to practice good vision care; protect the eyes by wearing goggles when engaging in sports, mowing the lawn, or working with power or hand tools; and monitor other health conditions. People are only born with one set of eyes and it pays to take care of them. Report redness, chronic pain, blurred vision, or a loss of peripheral vision to a family doctor or ophthalmologist; and keep a record of symptoms to help doctors determine if there has been any damage to optic nerves or build up of intraocular pressure. With proper medication and state-of-the-art glaucoma eye surgery, people who are diagnosed with the disease should be able to live long productive lives without the threat of losing their eyesight.

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