Glaucoma is a group of eye conditions that can damage the optic nerve, which is responsible for transmitting visual information from the eye to the brain. This damage can cause vision loss or blindness if left untreated. The damage to the optic nerve caused by glaucoma is irreversible and thus early detection and treatment are paramount for this disease.
In a healthy eye, fluid called aqueous humor flows in and out of the eye through a drainage system, keeping the eye pressure stable. In glaucoma, this drainage system becomes blocked or does not work properly, causing an increase in eye pressure. This high pressure can damage the optic nerve over time, leading to vision loss.
Glaucoma can develop slowly and without any noticeable symptoms in the early stages. Regular eye exams are important to catch glaucoma early and prevent vision loss. Depending on the type and severity of glaucoma, treatment options may include eye drops, laser therapy, or surgery.
Glaucoma laser is a type of minimally invasive procedure that can help to lower intraocular pressure in patients with glaucoma. Selective laser trabeculoplasty (SLT): This procedure uses a low energy laser to target specific cells in the trabecular meshwork, causing them to absorb the laser energy and improve drainage.
There are several minimally invasive glaucoma surgery (MIGS) options available in the United States that can help reduce intraocular pressure and manage glaucoma. These procedures are typically less invasive and have a faster recovery time than traditional glaucoma surgery. Some of the MIGS options include:
The choice of MIGS procedure will depend on a patient's individual needs and the severity of their glaucoma. An eye doctor can help determine which MIGS option is best for each patient.
Some patients require intraocular pressure lowering which can not be achieved with MIGS. These patients may require more invasive glaucoma surgery such as Glaucoma tube surgery or trabeculectomy. Glaucoma tube surgery is a surgical treatment for glaucoma that involves implanting a small tube in the eye to help reduce intraocular pressure and prevent further vision loss from glaucoma. Trabeculectomy is a surgical treatment which involves making a small opening in the eye to create a new drainage channel for the fluid. This channel allows the fluid to bypass the normal drainage pathway and flow out of the eye, reducing the pressure inside the eye.