Prescription eye drops for glaucoma help maintain the pressure in your eye at a healthy level and are an important part of the glaucoma treatment routine for many people. Be sure your doctor knows about any other drugs you may be taking (including over-the-counter items like vitamins, aspirin, and herbal supplements) and about any allergies you may have. As any medications, glaucoma eye drops have side effects which can be tolerated by the many patients but sometimes due to general health of the patient, some types of eye drops cannot be given. To minimize side effects, you should decrease the amount of glaucoma eye drops that can be absorbed to your bloodstream by closing your eye and/or pressing on the inner corner of your eye near the nose for a few minutes after you apply an eye drop. This will increase the amount of drug absorbed by the eye and decrease the amount of drug that passes through the nasolacrimal ducts where it can pass to your bloodstream.
In this treatment for open angle glaucoma, laser energy is delivered to the drainage system of the eye, the trabecular meshwork. This treatment is extremely safe and is well-tolerated by patients. The SLT technique is very gentle, and studies show that it does not damage the tissue of the drainage system. The SLT procedure takes only minutes to apply, and there is usually no discomfort felt by the patient. Following the laser treatment, one usually continues any existing glaucoma eye drops. After several weeks one returns to measure the intraocular pressure and to assess the success of the procedure.
A second type of glaucoma surgery is called a Shunt, or Glaucoma Drainage Device. In this procedure, a small tube is placed through the sclera, or the wall of the eye, into the anterior chamber of the eye. Similar to the Trabeculectomy, excess fluid is able to pass out of the eye and collects in a reservoir, the bleb, underneath the conjunctiva. With both types of glaucoma surgery, frequent visits are required in follow-up care to monitor the intraocular pressure and the healing of the eye. There is often mild irritation due to the manipulation of the eye tissue and also due to sutures on the surface of the eye. With time, these symptoms improve.
Usually done at the conclusion of cataract surgery, Goniotomy involves making an incision in the natural drain of the eye and scooping out material that may block flow of fluid out of the eye.
If medical and laser therapy are not sufficient in treating the glaucoma, surgery can be performed. The most common type of glaucoma surgery is Trabeculectomy. In this procedure, a small area of the drainage system, the trabecular meshwork is removed. A flap is made in the wall of the eye, the sclera, through which the fluid from within the eye can pass, decreasing the pressure within the eye. The fluid flows through the scleral flap into a space underneath the conjunctiva, and this space is called a bleb.
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