Do I Need Surgery When I Have Glaucoma?

Elderly woman with glaucoma planting flowers

The more you look into glaucoma, the more it seems like a condition that can be unbearable. There are no noticeable symptoms with glaucoma and vision loss from it is permanent.

This means that if you do not treat glaucoma early enough, you will suffer from a worsening vision that cannot be improved. The good news is that if glaucoma is diagnosed early on, further vision loss can be prevented.

This is, among many more reasons, why it is so important to schedule regular eye exams. Early detection is the only surefire way to successfully treat glaucoma. Keep reading to learn if you need surgery when you have glaucoma!

Glaucoma Treatment

Surgery is a viable treatment for glaucoma under the right circumstances. In most cases, it is seen as a last resort treatment option. When a patient has glaucoma, the goal is to lower high intraocular pressure levels. This is usually started with medication like eye drops.

High internal eye pressure is almost always the culprit of glaucoma. As the pressure rises inside your eye, the optic nerve suffers more damage.

The optic nerve is an important part of how the eye sees and sends images to the brain. This pressure increase happens when the drainage meshwork inside the eye becomes clogged. This slows down the outflow of eye fluid.

Glaucoma medication can work in different ways. Certain types relax the muscles in the eye, allowing fluid to flow freer.

Other kinds reduce the production of eye fluid, and others are a hybrid of the two. Your doctor will recommend the correct medicine based on your particular needs.

When Surgery Becomes Necessary

If medication is not reducing your eye pressure enough, it may be necessary to turn to surgery. Typically laser surgery is performed. Laser surgery involves the use of focused light beams to help open the drainage meshwork inside the eye.

If glaucoma is advanced or the optic nerve has become damaged, incisional surgery may be necessary. During this surgery, a separate opening is created in the eye to release pressure.

In either case, surgery will not replace the need for glaucoma medication. After surgery, patients with glaucoma will continue taking medication. This is necessary to keep eye pressure levels from rising again.

Different Kinds of Glaucoma

In most cases, patients will have primary open-angle glaucoma. This is the most common kind of glaucoma.

In this kind of glaucoma, the pressure slowly builds up and accumulates. There are also other kinds of glaucoma to look out for.

Closed-angle glaucoma occurs when the drainage system becomes completely blocked rather than slightly clogged. This causes internal eye pressure to skyrocket, causing damage quickly and noticeably.

This type of glaucoma is associated with painful symptoms such as pain, headaches, nausea, and a sharp loss of vision.

Although it is not understood why glaucoma can occur in people who have normal internal eye pressure. This is known as normal-tension glaucoma.

Because patients have normal eye pressure, it can be more difficult to diagnose. Patients with normal-tension glaucoma have the same treatment options for treating their glaucoma.

Have more questions about glaucoma? Considering surgery? Schedule an appointment at Eye Physicians & Surgeons of Arizona in Glendale, AZ now!

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