Glaucoma Treatment Options
Open-Angle Glaucoma Treatment
Treatment for open-angle glaucoma involves IOP control. Your glaucoma specialist will offer one of several different options.
- Eye drops contain medication designed to lower IOL
- Laser therapy such as SLT (selective laser trabeculoplasty) is available that can lower IOP
- Minimally invasive glaucoma surgery (MIGS) devices may be recommend for eligible patients to aid in glaucoma management
- Incisional glaucoma surgery for people where very low IOP is necessary, your specialist may recommend glaucoma surgery performed in a sterile operating room.
My specialist offered me a choice between using eye drops vs SLT laser therapy. Which is better?
Both eye drops and SLT are accepted treatment methods in the management of glaucoma. For someone newly diagnosed with open-angle glaucoma, either option can be reasonably considered.
What are the pros and cons of using eyedrops for glaucoma?
Eyedrops are easy to use and quite safe. The downside to using eyedrops: they may be expensive, there can be side effects, they may need to be used lifelong. If you forget to instil the eyedrop, your IOP may rise and increase the risk of optic nerve damage.
What are the advantages of laser treatment (SLT) for open-angle glaucoma?
SLT is a “cold” laser treatment. The laser light stimulates the trabecular meshwork (drainage structure) of the eye, which lowers the IOP. Most patients do not feel any pain during the procedure. SLT is typically covered by insurance. The treatment effect on average lasts for 3 years. If the treatment effect wears off, re-treatment with SLT may be possible. Having SLT can allow many patients to avoid the cost and inconvenience of daily eye drop use.
Closed-Angle Glaucoma Treatment
My specialist has diagnosed me with closed-angle glaucoma; how is this treated?
Treatment for closed-angle glaucoma involves several options:
- Laser therapy- Your specialist may recommend a procedure termed as LPI (laser peripheral iridotomy) to address narrow angles
- Eye drops- if your IOP is high, eye drops may be recommended
- Cataract extraction- Several medical studies have indicated that cataract surgery may aid in the management of closed-angle glaucoma
- Incisional glaucoma surgery- For people where very low IOP is necessary, your specialist may recommend glaucoma surgery performed in a sterile operating room.
Incisional Glaucoma Surgery
My specialist has recommended a MIGS device at the time of cataract surgery. What does this involve?
Devices such as the iStent are very small devices that can be implanted in the trabecular meshwork at the time of surgery to help with IOP control. The procedure typically only adds minutes to the cataract procedure and typically allows patients to eliminate some or all of their glaucoma medication.
My specialist has recommended trabeculectomy surgery; what does this involve?
In order to lower your IOP, a new drainage system has to be created within the eye. One way to do this is with a trabeculectomy procedure.
My specialist has recommended Glaucoma Implant surgery; what does this involve?
In some situations, a tube surgery is recommended for IOP lowering. This is an alternative to the trabeculectomy procedure.