Glaucoma is a disease that damages your eye’s optic nerve. A healthy eye is filled with a clear fluid called aqueous humor which circulates inside the front portion of your eye. Your eye continually produces a small amount of aqueous humor while an equal amount flows out of your eye in order to maintain constant healthy eye pressure. Glaucoma means that the aqueous humor is not flowing out of your eye properly and that pressure in the eye is building up. This pressure can cause damage to your optic nerve over time.
There are two major types of glaucoma: Open-angle glaucoma and Angle-closure glaucoma (also called “closed-angle glaucoma” or “narrow-angle glaucoma”).
If you have glaucoma, your ophthalmologist may recommend daily medicated eyedrops to lower your eye pressure. Laser procedures or surgery is recommended for some glaucoma patients in order to improve the flow of fluid out of the eye.
In-office Laser Procedures
There are two main types of laser procedures to treat glaucoma. These procedures are usually done in our office.
- Trabeculoplasty – This laser procedure is for people who have open-angle glaucoma. The eye surgeon uses a laser to make the drainage angle work better. That way fluid flows out properly and eye pressure is reduced.
- Iridotomy – This is for people who have angle-closure glaucoma. The ophthalmologist uses a laser to create a tiny hole in the iris. This hole helps fluid flow to the drainage angle.
Some glaucoma treatments require surgery that is performed in an outpatient surgery center. These surgeries create a new drainage channel for the aqueous humor to leave the eye.
- Trabeculectomy – A small flap and hole are made in the sclera, creating a pocket of fluid in the conjunctiva called a filtration bleb. It is usually hidden under the upper eyelid and cannot be seen. Aqueous humor will drain out of the eye through the flap and into the bleb. In the bleb, the fluid is absorbed by the tissue around your eye.
- Glaucoma drainage devices – The glaucoma drainage implant, also known as a tube shunt, is placed in the eye and sends fluid to a collection area or reservoir beneath the conjunctiva. The fluid is then absorbed by the tissue around your eye.
- Minimally invasive glaucoma surgery (MIGS) – MIGS procedures work by using microscopic-sized equipment and tiny incisions. They either help the drainage angle to work better or create a new drain for the eye.