Glaucoma treatment is a serious condition that affects the optic nerve. Glaucoma is usually caused by increased intraocular pressure in one or both eyes. It is critical to begin glaucoma treatment as early as possible before vision begins to deteriorate.
If you have been diagnosed with elevated eye pressure or the first signs of glaucoma are observed, do not panic. Regular check-ups at the Eximer Ophthalmology Clinic in Kyiv and Odesa, Ukraine, can prevent or slow down vision loss, especially if glaucoma is detected at an early stage. Eye surgery can often be an effective method of reducing intraocular pressure. Thus, glaucoma does not progress, and vision is stabilized.
Unfortunately, the vision that has been lost due to glaucoma typically cannot be restored.
Often glaucoma runs unnoticed, subtly, without signals of its insidious mission.
Here are the symptoms of glaucoma:
- Increased eye pressure
- Blurred vision
- Red eyes
- Pain in the eye
- Blind spots in the visual field
- Nausea and vomiting
Symptoms of glaucoma can vary depending on the severity of the condition and the type of glaucoma.
A comprehensive eye exam is the only way to detect glaucoma before permanent vision loss occurs.
Unfortunately, the most common type of glaucoma has no early signs and can only be detected with a comprehensive eye exam by an ophthalmologist.
Treatment procedure (stages of treatment)
Glaucoma treatment begins with:
- Undergoing a comprehensive eye exam and diagnosis by an ophthalmologist.
- The doctor refers the patient for additional examinations to determine the degree of disease progression and the type of glaucoma.
- In the case of glaucoma, a consultation with a retinologist or glaucomatologist may be indicated. These are narrow specialists dealing directly with retinal and ocular nerve diseases.
- At the consultation, the doctor prescribes the necessary treatment that will stop the disease progression and save your eyesight.
- Regular check-ups with an ophthalmologist and monitoring of intraocular pressure.
Glaucoma treatment techniques
The damage to your vision caused by glaucoma cannot be reversed. But treatment and regular check-ups can slow or prevent vision loss, especially if you detect the disease in its early stages.
Glaucoma treatment is aimed at reducing intraocular pressure. Depending on the severity of the disease and the type of glaucoma, treatment options may include:
- Eye drops aimed at reducing intraocular pressure.
- Laser surgery, which improves the outflow of intraocular fluid. It is prescribed in cases where the drops do not work or as a supplement to medication.
- Eye microsurgery. This is glaucoma surgery, where a drainage channel is created to drain the intraocular fluid and reduce the eye pressure.
Successful glaucoma treatment is in fact a team effort between the patient and the physician. The person needs to follow the specialist’s instructions and take all necessary medications at the prescribed time.
When treating glaucoma, you should have regular check-ups with an ophthalmologist, perhaps every 3-6 months at first. However, this time frame may vary depending on the condition.
Getting ready for surgical treatment of glaucoma
After deciding on surgical treatment for an eye condition like glaucoma, the patient needs to prepare for surgery:
- Undergo a set of examinations and tests by the family physician, which will allow drawing conclusions about the patient’s general state of health.
- Have a consultation with an anesthesiologist at the clinic. Tell your doctor about any medications or supplements you are taking. Before surgery, you may be asked to stop taking certain medications, such as anticoagulants. This is to reduce the chance of bleeding during glaucoma surgery. Any recommendation to stop taking medications should be coordinated with your family physician.
- An ophthalmologist may prescribe several types of eye drops such as anti-glaucoma, anti-inflammatory, etc., which should be started several days before surgery.
- Have a caregiver who can pick you up after the surgery and take you home. Microsurgery is done in one day, there is no need to stay in the clinic.
- Try to quit smoking 4-5 days before surgery. Smoking can interfere with the rapid healing of the eye after surgery.
- You should also avoid drinking alcohol 48 hours before surgery, as alcohol can increase the risk of complications after surgery.
Surgical treatment for glaucoma
There are times when drops and medications cause serious side effects, such as high blood pressure or palpitations, and they don’t have the desired effect. In these cases, your doctor may recommend surgical treatment for glaucoma. Some people need it right away if they have high eye pressure and risk losing their vision.
Non-penetrating deep sclerectomy is considered the gold standard in glaucoma surgery and remains the most commonly performed glaucoma surgery. During this procedure, the surgeon forms a small flap in the periphery of the cornea using laser or surgical instruments. It is usually hidden under the upper eyelid and cannot be seen. This way, a natural drainage for the fluid outflow is formed, and the intraocular pressure is decreased. This surgery can be combined with the implantation of collagen drains, which increase the efficiency of the intervention and reduce the likelihood of scarring.
Ex-Press device implantation is a modern and highly effective method of glaucoma treatment. This innovative technological device performs the function of drainage in the eye. Ex-Press is placed under the scleral flap in the eye and monitors the level of intraocular fluid. If the level rises, the device automatically drains the excess fluid and the pressure is normalized. Ex-Press implantation is a safe method of glaucoma treatment that has been used for more than 10 years and has gained the trust of surgeons and patients alike. It is also minimally traumatic and avoids any postoperative complications.
Implantation of the Ahmed Glaucoma Valve System is another effective glaucoma surgery that is designed to reduce intraocular pressure. The benefit of this method consists in its ability to be used for different types of glaucoma. In addition, after the Ahmed Valve implantation, one can lower the number of drops used while minimizing the risk of elevated intraocular pressure.
Laser treatment for glaucoma
Several types of laser surgery are used to treat glaucoma and the choice depends on the form of glaucoma and its severity. Laser glaucoma surgery is painless with drop anesthesia and takes 15-20 minutes. Laser treatment of glaucoma in Kyiv and Odesa at Eximer Ophthalmology Clinic is performed on a single-day basis.
Below are the most common types of laser surgery for the treatment of glaucoma.
Selective laser trabeculoplasty (SLT) is used to treat open-angle glaucoma and is 75% effective. With SLT, the laser beam targets the trabecular meshwork, which is the drainage system of the anterior chamber. This procedure improves fluid outflow and decreases intraocular pressure. Laser treatment for glaucoma may be an alternative for those who have been treated with pressure-lowering drops for years without success.
Laser iridectomy is suitable for treating closed-angle glaucoma. Closed-angle glaucoma occurs when the angle between the iris and the cornea is too small. This causes the iris to block the fluid outflow, increasing intraocular pressure. During the procedure, the laser makes a small hole in the iris, which improves fluid outflow and reduces intraocular pressure.
Drug treatment for glaucoma without surgery
Treatment for glaucoma often starts with eye drops, which reduce eye pressure by improving the fluid outflow from the eye, or by reducing the amount of fluid secreted by the eye. Depending on how low the eye pressure should be, several types of eye drops may be needed.
Eye drops are an effective treatment, but they can interfere with other medications and inhibit the proper result. Drops can also cause burning, redness, and discomfort.
Pills are also used to treat glaucoma, promoting the proper fluid outflow from the anterior chamber of the eye and reducing pressure on the optic nerve.
Non-penetrating deep sclerectomy
Non-penetrating deep sclerectomy (NPDS) is becoming increasingly popular worldwide, mainly because of the low risk of early postoperative complications.
A non-penetrating deep sclerectomy refers to a glaucoma surgery in which a drainage valve is placed in the outer layer of the eye, the sclera. This procedure facilitates the intraocular fluid outflow, which in turn normalizes the intraocular pressure.
What are the risk factors for glaucoma?
Glaucoma results from damage to the optic nerve. As the nerve gradually deteriorates, blind spots appear in the visual field.
Optic nerve damage comes from increased intraocular pressure.
Causes of increased intraocular pressure and glaucoma:
- Genetic factor. Scientists have identified genes in some people that cause high eye pressure and optic nerve damage;
- Systemic diseases, such as diabetes or high blood pressure;
- Regular use of certain medications, including steroids;
- Trauma to the head or eye;
- High myopia or hyperopia;
- Age over 60.
However, there are cases where glaucoma has no visible and clear cause.
Risks of glaucoma?
Glaucoma is deemed to be a dangerous and insidious disease. And the main threat posed by this condition is vision loss. As scary as it may seem, glaucoma affects the optic nerve and a person gradually goes blind.
Unfortunately, despite all the latest technology and scientific developments, modern medicine has not yet mastered how to restore the optic nerve. That is why vision once lost due to glaucoma can no longer be restored. It is crucial to detect the disease at an early stage to preserve the vision.
Benefits of treating glaucoma at Eximer Ophthalmology Clinic
- Eximer Ophthalmology Clinics feature the most advanced equipment for the early diagnosis of glaucoma.
- Our ophthalmologists specialize in providing medical services to treat glaucoma. We have a full range of surgical, laser, and therapeutic techniques to treat this condition.
- Our doctors select an individual treatment program for each patient based on the medical findings.
- Our clinics are located in the center of major cities. You can get glaucoma treatment in Kyiv and Odesa.
- Our physicians adhere to the standards of the European Society of Glaucomatology when treating patients.
- Glaucoma surgeries are painless and attenuated thanks to drip anesthesia and take 15-20 minutes. The patient may go home the same day.
- All patients sign a contract before treatment, whereby they receive free postoperative follow-up care and can consult a physician 24/7.
Diagnosis of glaucoma
Diagnosis of glaucoma – regular comprehensive eye exams can help detect glaucoma in its early stages, before serious visual damage occurs. The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) recommends an eye examination:
If you are under 40 years old – undergo a comprehensive eye examination every 4-5 years;
If you are between 40 and 54 years old, undergo a comprehensive diagnosis every 2-4 years;
If you are between 55 and 64 years old, get an examination every 1-3 years.
After the age of 65 – to be examined every 1-2 years.
If you are at risk of developing glaucoma, then you need more frequent screening.
The result of surgical treatment of glaucoma
Surgery for glaucoma helps lower intraocular pressure (IOP). The length of time that IOP will remain within the normal range depends on the type of surgery, type of glaucoma, age, race, and many other factors. Some people may need a second operation to better control IOP.
Another indisputable advantage in favor of the surgical treatment of glaucoma is the ability to minimize or even completely abandon the use of medications. As a rule, with glaucoma, medications need to be taken every day by the hour and this affects the quality and comfort of patients’ lives. Plus, medications can cause side effects, so more and more doctors are leaning towards surgical treatment of glaucoma.
Rehabilitation after glaucoma surgery
After glaucoma surgery, regular check-ups with an ophthalmologist are necessary for the first week. Try not to bend over or lift weights, and avoid getting water in your eyes while recovering from surgery.
Vision may be a little blurry for the first month after surgery, and contact lenses may cause discomfort. However, surgery allows most people who have had glaucoma to avoid taking constant pressure-reducing medications.
Improving blood flow to the eye in glaucoma
To achieve a good result after glaucoma surgery, taking care only of the drainage system is not enough. We should think about the retina as well. The fact is that glaucoma impairs the blood supply to the retinal tissue and, correspondingly, the cells are starved of nutrition. After solving the intraocular pressure issue, it is essential to improve the blood supply in the eye area. To do this, Eximer Ophthalmology Clinic employs a range of machine-assisted therapeutic procedures, namely:
— Laser stimulation;
— Vacuum massage;
— Vitamin therapy;
In addition, such a procedure as vasoreconstructive surgery is used as well to redistribute blood flow in the eye area and improve blood supply by 20-25%.
Anti-glaucoma program at Eximer Ophthalmology Clinic
Eximer Ophthalmology Clinic has specialized in treating glaucoma for over 22 years. Our physicians follow the recommendations of the European Society of Glaucomatology in their work.
The Eximer team has developed a unique anti-glaucoma program for people living with or at risk of developing this disorder. The program includes diagnostic methods, control of intraocular pressure, preventive procedures, and techniques to improve the blood supply to the retinal cells. This program is highly demanded by the patients of the clinic and offers a high level of effectiveness.
Glaucoma and cataract all-in-one treatment
Glaucoma can often be closely related to cataracts, the opacity of the crystalline lens, and in this case, both conditions require serious treatment. Sometimes it is the cataract that causes secondary glaucoma. This occurs when the lens becomes opaque and swollen, increasing in volume and thereby blocking fluid access to the drainage outlet. Thus, it is quite enough to replace the opaque lens with an intraocular lens, and the intraocular pressure will normalize. In other cases, in addition to cataract surgery, glaucoma treatment is performed at the same time.
Eximer Ophthalmology Clinic benefits from all the latest advances in ophthalmology and performs cataract surgery while controlling intraocular pressure levels, which is crucial for glaucoma patients.
How much does glaucoma surgery cost?
If you have been diagnosed with glaucoma, then the majority of patients find glaucoma surgery and its price to be the most common concern. The cost of glaucoma treatment depends on its form, severity, and chosen method of treatment. Only a doctor can determine these aspects after a thorough diagnosis.
Where can glaucoma be treated?
Glaucoma should be treated by narrow experts. Eximer Ophthalmology Clinic has been treating people with glaucoma for over 22 years. Patients come to us from such cities as Kyiv, Fastiv, Bila Tserkva, Irpin, Boryspil, Brovary, Obukhiv, Odesa, Chornomorsk, Bilhorod-Dnistrovskyi (Ukraine), as well as from near and far abroad.
What is the most effective glaucoma treatment?
The most effective glaucoma treatment is determined by the doctor in each separate case. Often specialists favor laser or surgical glaucoma treatment, which allows normalizing intraocular pressure and getting rid of medication abuse.
How long before blindness?
Glaucoma is a condition that kills the optic nerve. Therefore, the earlier glaucoma treatment is started, the more likely you are to save your vision and protect yourself from blindness.