By Dr S.S. Gill
In conjunction with World Glaucoma Week, Ipoh Echo talks to Consultant Eye Surgeon Dr S.S. Gill about the TREATMENT OPTIONS in this final part.
Glaucoma as you know has been nicknamed the “silent thief of sight” and results in permanent irreversible blindness. It often goes without symptoms and is crucial to be detected early to prevent this loss of vision. Is glaucoma treatable? Glaucoma treatment may either involve eye drops instillation, pills, laser surgery, conventional surgery or a combination of these methods. Glaucoma treatment does not restore vision that is already lost but only prevents further loss of vision.
The first line of treatment is often instillation of special eye drops to reduce eye pressure. These will have to be instilled daily without fail in order to prevent loss of vision. Sometimes a combination of eye drops may be required. Always be diligent with the instillation of any eye drops that have been prescribed for glaucoma.
2. ORAL MEDICATION
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.
3. LASER SURGERY
Laser treatment may be recommended if suitable. Laser surgery is performed on an outpatient basis in the 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 despite all the above treatment. Surgery involves creating drainage 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.