In conjunction with World Glaucoma Awareness, Ipoh Echo talks to Consultant Eye Surgeon Dr. S.S. Gill about this “silent thief of sight” – Final Part.
Glaucoma as you know has been nicknamed the “silent thief of sight”. This disease results in permanent irreversible blindness in the affected eye(s) that often goes without symptoms until the loss of vision is significant or the patient is blind. Early diagnosis means early treatment and therefore prevention of major loss of vision.
Glaucoma treatment may either involve eye drops instillation, pills, laser surgery, conventional surgery or a combination of these methods. The ultimate goal of treatment is to prevent optic nerve damage that results in irreversible loss of vision. Taking medications regularly as prescribed, is crucial to prevent vision-threatening nerve damage.
The first line of treatment is often instillation of special eye drops that can reduce eye pressure. These will have to be instilled daily without fail in order to prevent loss of vision. Sometimes doctors will prescribe a combination of eye drops in order to lower the eye pressure adequately. There are many patients on eyedrops for years who have their vision preserved. Always be diligent with the instillation of any eyedrops that have been prescribed for glaucoma.
Oral medication usually has quite a few side effects that may include skin rash, tingling in the hands or feet, nausea or upset stomach, kidney stone formation, altered taste (especially with carbonated beverages), weight loss, fatigue, and decreased energy. So, they are generally not used long term. They are generally only used to treat acute eye pressure increase.
Depending on the condition of your eyes, laser treatment may be recommended if suitable. Laser surgery is performed on an outpatient basis in an eye doctor’s office or clinic after the eye has been numbed. A laser is directed toward the trabecular meshwork which is the area that drains the fluid (aqueous humor) from the eye into the blood. There are many kinds of laser surgery and they are usually recommended based on the type of glaucoma.
Surgery is usually recommended if the eye pressure cannot be controlled by all of the above treatments. Surgery involves creating means for the eye fluid (aqueous humor) to drain in order to relieve the eye pressure.
As a last resort, a special glaucoma drainage device may have to be implanted in the eye in order to relieve the eye pressure.
In summary, get an eye examination done annually. If you are diagnosed with glaucoma, it does not mean you will go blind. It only means that you will need to be treated intensively in order to prevent you from going blind.
For more information, contact Gill Eye Specialist Centre at 05-5455582, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.fatimah.com.my.