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Find out how glaucoma can be treated, along with the risks and the benefits
Eye drops are often recommended as a first treatment to reduce the high eye pressure. However, if they do not work, then surgery or SLT will be recommended.
Your doctor can administer medicine for glaucoma into your eye using a syringe. This is a quick and easy way treatment and often can improve your symptoms. If it is not effective, surgery or SLT will be suggested.
Laser energy is applied to the drainage tissue in the eye, enabling fluid to drain out better. A “cold laser” is used, meaning that its energy only affects certain tissues. This means that it causes minimal pain and scarring.
This laser treatment is often successful in reducing pressure in the eye, but its results can reduce over time, meaning that the treatment often needs to be repeated after a few years.
Glaucoma surgery, also known as a trabeculectomy, involves draining some of the fluid in your eye out to lower the pressure. Your surgeon will make a small draining hole in the lining of the white of your eye. The fluid will drain out into a space in the outer lining of your eye and collect just under your eyelid.
The operation usually takes between 45 minutes and an hour. You should be able to go home a few hours after the operation. However, your doctor may recommend that you stay in hospital overnight.
The iStent Inject device is in fact two small – very small, they're the smallest things currently implanted into the human body and one fifth the size of a grain of rice – stents which are added to the eye. A stent is a small method of holding open tissue to allow the passage of liquid through it. The stents are inserted into in the same area as the eyes' natural drainage system.
The iStent Inject stents are made of titanium and work by creating and holding open very small extra holes in that natural drainage system of the eye. The extra and unwanted pressure inside the eye – which may lead to glaucoma – is drained through the eye's natural pathway.
Glaucoma will not improve on its own and can cause blindness if it is not treated. The risks of glaucoma treatment should be weighed up against the risks of no treatment. Your doctor will be able to advise you on the best course of action for your condition.
Invasive glaucoma treatment is more likely to cause side effects and problems than less invasive treatments. Risks of surgery and laser therapy include: