Glaucoma is a condition that can affect people of all ages, but is the leading cause of damage to vision or blindness in people over 40 years old. It is the name given to a group of eye diseases that damage the optic nerve, which links the retina to the brain. If glaucoma is detected early on, treatment can prevent any further vision loss (in most patients).
The ciliary body produces a fluid called aqueous humour; this drains out of the eye through a sieve like structure called a trabecular meshwork. Instances of glaucoma occur when the speed the ciliary body pumps aqueous humour into the eye is greater than the speed it drains through the trabecular meshwork.
Types of Glaucoma
There are several different types of glaucoma that people can suffer from:
- Open-angle – this is when the aqueous humour cannot drain properly
- Angle-closure – this is when the flow of aqueous humour is blocked
- Normal pressure – this occurs despite average intraocular pressure
- Childhood – this is often hereditary, but is quite rare
- Congenital – this form is present from birth
- Secondary – this is as a result of other conditions of the eye
There are several forms of glaucoma treatment available; your ophthalmologist will require your medical history before deciding on the treatment that is best for your condition. Different types of glaucoma treatment options include:
- Eye drops or tablets – this glaucoma treatment is usually tried before surgery, unless the surgery is urgent
- Laser trabeculoplasty – small areas of the trabecular meshwork are treated in order to improve the drainage
- Laser iridotomy – a small hole is made in the iris which allows the aqueous humour to flow more freely from the eye
- Cyclophotocoagulation – parts of the ciliary body are destroyed so that less aqueous humour can be produced to prevent the excess
- Filtering procedure – this is the most common form of incisional surgery. In a filtering procedure called trabeculectomy, the ophthalmologist creates a channel through the wall of the eye which is used to drain the aqueous fluid
- Cyclocryosurgery – liquid nitrogen is used to reduce the ability of the ciliary body to produce aqueous fluid
If you are suffering with glaucoma and would like to discuss the most appropriate glaucoma treatment for you please get in touch today (02) 9868 2333.