Damage caused by glaucoma cannot be reversed. Eye drops, pills and laser and surgical operations are used to prevent or slow further damage from occurring. With any type of glaucoma, annual examinations are very important to prevent vision loss. Because glaucoma can worsen without your being aware of it, your treatment may need to be changed over time.
Glaucoma is usually controlled with eye drops administered several times a day, sometimes in combination with pills. These medications decrease eye pressure, either by slowing the production of aqueous fluid within the eye or by improving the flow leaving the drainage angle. For these medications to work, you must take them regularly and on a continuous basis. It is also important to tell all of your doctors about the eye medications you are using.
Glaucoma medications can have side effects. You should notify your eye doctor immediately if you think you may be experiencing side effects.
Eye drops sometimes cause:
- A stinging sensation;
- Red eyes;
- Blurred vision;
- Changes in pulse, heartbeat or breathing.
Pills sometimes cause:
- Tingling of fingers and toes;
- Loss of appetite;
- Bowel irregularities;
- Kidney stones;
- Anemia or easy bleeding.
- In open-angle glaucoma, the drain itself is treated. The laser is used to enlarge the drain (trabeculoplasty) to help control eye pressure.
- In angle-closure glaucoma, the laser creates a hole in the iris (iridotomy) to improve the flow of aqueous fluid to the drain.
When operative surgery is needed to control glaucoma, your Manchester ophthalmologist uses miniature instruments to create a new drainage channel for the aqueous fluid to leave the eye. The new channel helps to lower the pressure.
Though serious complications of modern glaucoma surgery are rare, they can occur, as with any surgery. Surgery is recommended only if your ophthalmologist feels that it is safer to operate than to allow optic nerve damage to continue.
Treatment for glaucoma requires a “team” made up of both you and your doctor. Your eye doctor can prescribe treatment for glaucoma, but only you can make sure you take your eye drops or pills.
Never stop taking or change your medications without first consulting your eye doctor. Frequent eye examinations and tests are critical to monitor your eyes for any changes. Remember, it is your vision, and you must do your part of maintaining it.
Endoscopic Cyclo Photocoagulation
Endoscopic Cyclo Photocoagulation, or ECP is performed on an outpatient basis. The ciliary body of the eye is a small gland running around the circumference of the eye, located just behind the iris. It creates the fluid that fills the front third of the eye. Glaucoma is caused by either over production or inadequate drainage of this fluid. The ECP procedure consists of using laser light to cauterize part of the ciliary body, which results in less fluid and lower intra-ocular pressure. This reduces fluid production that in turn, reduces intra-ocular pressure.