Glaucoma and Laser Surgery

Certain factors can cause poor drainage of aqueous fluids in the eye and this results in the build up of pressure which can cause damage to the optic nerves that helps the eye function for vision. This leads to an eye disease called glaucoma and if left untreated, it can cause permanent loss of vision. Through the years many techniques and procedures have been developed to diagnose and treat it and at this time the most promising solution is glaucoma laser surgery.

Glaucoma comes in different forms and determining what type of glaucoma a patient has helps in determining what treatment options there are. Initially, in an attempt to relieve pressure in the eye, doctors give eye drops and medication taken orally are given. If it does not help, then glaucoma laser surgery is the next option.

Argon laser trabeculoplasty is one form of glaucoma laser surgery technique used primary open angle glaucoma. Tiny burns are made into the trabecular network of the eyes to improve the draining and flow of aqueous fluid in the eyes. A specific form of this procedure is selective laser trabeculoplasty or SLT. This uses laser beams to remove only very specific target cells in the trabecular network. As a result, it improves the flow of aqueous fluids and relieves the pressure.

In some cases, it may take two sessions and in some, it may require repeating the procedure after two or three years. This, however is recommended because it avoids the need for medication after the procedure. It is also the glaucoma laser surgery procedure commonly recommended for pigmentary glaucoma which is common among males of African-American descent.

Angle closure glaucoma results if the space or angle between the iris and cornea is too narrow and this results in poor drainage of aqueous fluids. Peripheral iridotomy is the glaucoma laser surgery option for this type.

To relieve the pressure, laser beams are used to make a small hole on the iris. The space or angle widens as the iris moves away from it. This corrects the flow of aqueous fluids.

For more severe cases of glaucoma, the procedure usually recommended is laser cyclophotocoagulation. An example is when new blood vessels are formed in the eye as a result of diabetic retinopathy. The new blood vessels can seriously affect the flow of aqueous fluids in the eye resulting in pressure buildup. This leads to a form of glaucoma called neovascular glaucoma.

For this glaucoma laser surgery procedure, the doctor uses endoscopic cyclophotocoagulation to observe the ciliary body. This is also connected to an endoscopic camera. This will then guide the application of the laser beam to treat the ciliary body so it reduces or stops the production of fluids. By using a laser beam, part of the ciliary body is destroyed so that it no longer produces aqueous fluid. Less aqueous fluid means less pressure on the eye.

These glaucoma laser surgery procedures are usually painless. Some may feel a slight stinging sensation but apart from that, no major pain is felt. After undergoing glaucoma laser surgery, some rest for a few days is required and soon one can go back to the normal daily routine.

Also, in some cases, the patient needs to take some medication to relieve some minor discomforts that may appear after the procedure. Eye inflammation and slight risks in developing cataract may be some of the problems that may arise after each glaucoma laser surgery.

Glaucoma is a serious problem that can lead to permanent damage to the eye. It is important that it is well-understood and that a number of techniques are available to treat it.

Laser surgery is fast becoming a popular option for glaucoma treatment. The techniques are also becoming more and more advanced and refined to ensure that treatment results only in success and there is complete absence of discomfort during and after the treatment. They are also being improved to make the positive results long lasting, making glaucoma laser surgery a very promising form of treatment for glaucoma patients. As with any medical problem, thoroughly discuss all options with your physician.