For the vast majority of patients, eye drops remain the first line of defence for the management and treatment of glaucoma. Patients who do not respond to one type of medication may be prescribed other medications in different drug groups, and your doctor will tailor a treatment regime to suit you and the type of glaucoma that you have. Some people are on only one drop per day while others many require several types of drop and even tablets.
On occasion drug therapy alone is not enough to stabilise the condition and laser therapy may be used on its own or in conjunction with the continued use of drops for better preserving the vision.
SLT laser (selective laser trabeculoplasty) is performed in rooms by your surgeon and generally takes 10 minutes to complete, however you may need to remain at the clinic for an hour or so afterwards for monitoring.
PI laser (peripheral iridotomy) is another laser treatment for glaucoma, generally for people with the “closed angle” type and may be done as a matter of urgency if the drainage system becomes closed or as a prophylactic treatment if your surgeon feels that there is a risk of a blockage in the future.
We would ask that if you are booked in for any type of laser treatment that you plan not to drive for the rest of the day.
For people who do not respond to drop or laser therapy there are surgical options to increase the drainage of the fluid thereby reducing the eye pressure. Some of the more common surgeries are a “trabeculectomy” where a conduit for the excess fluid is surgically created, this is called a “bleb”. The eye may look red and the vision may be reduced for several weeks after a trabeculectomy, this is a normal part of the healing process and you will be monitored closely in the days and weeks after your operation.
Other options include tiny drains being placed in the eye, two common types are Baerveldt or Molteno implants, generally speaking, however many people never require these surgical treatments and do exceptionally well on eye drops alone.