Glaucoma Treatments - Guidelines and Treatment Options
What Is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a common disease of the eye which results from the dysfunction in the eye’s drainage system that leads to irreversible blindness. Clogging of this drainage system eventually results in an increase in intraocular pressure (IOP) which damages the eye’s delicate structures, especially the nerve responsible for vision (optic nerve).
Is There a Cure for Glaucoma?
To date there is no cure for glaucoma. The best any treatment can do is to halt (or slow) the progression of this disease. The closer the IOP to 8mmHg, the better (below that and the eye can lose vision from the pressure being too low).
Studies have shown that for most glaucoma patients an IOP of less than 15mmHg can be protective (a goal often achieved with Canaloplasty). Some forms of glaucoma (such as advanced, low tension, or normal tension glaucoma) require IOPs of less than 12mmHg in order to avoid loss of vision. Only your eye surgeon can determine what your eye’s goal should be.
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What Is the Treatment for Glaucoma?
Since the 19th century the mainstay of glaucoma treatment has been to lower the eye pressure. This has been achieved through both medical and surgical means. Over the last three decades, there has been a rapid development in glaucoma treatments, with a wide range of options available, from traditional glaucoma eye drops and traditional surgery, to the more sophisticated procedures like canaloplasty and stents.
Due to personal preference as well as the high cost of traditional treatment, many individuals are looking to Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) to supplement their prescribed glaucoma treatment despite the lack of scientific evidence that most CAM therapies are beneficial in the treatment of glaucoma.
Which option is most appropriate for you will depend on the severity of glaucoma and the comfort of the surgeon with the available glaucoma treatment options.
Therapies or Treatment Not Directly Related to Intraocular Pressure
At the present time all FDA approved glaucoma treatments aim to lower IOP. However, modern research has discovered a number of mechanisms other than elevated IOP that may contribute to loss of vision from glaucoma.
A few of these mechanisms include: Reducing inflammation, Limiting oxidative damage, Neuroprotection, and Improving the blood supply to the optic nerve.
Glaucoma Treatments Options:
Current glaucoma treatment guidelines follow a step-up approach, with eye medications as the initial treatment of choice. Often a combination of two or more of these drugs is required for adequate pressure control. For most glaucoma patients, the use of glaucoma drops may be lifelong – even after surgical treatment. Read more ->
Topics Covered in this Section: Types of Eye Medications | Cost Considerations of Glaucoma Medications – Monetary, Time, Quality of Life (Side Effects)
When medications are not effective enough, surgery may be the next best option. These procedures are either meant for glaucoma requiring the use of multiple glaucoma drops or for those with advanced glaucoma. Read more ->
Topics Covered in this Section: Laser Trabeculoplasty | Trabeculectomy Glaucoma Surgery | Glaucoma Drainage Devices | Endoscopic Cyclophotocoagulation | Trabectome | iStent Micro-Bypass | Canaloplasty
CAM treatments are medical practices and products that are not part of the usual standard of care provided by medical doctors. But, do they work? Read more ->
Topics Covered in this Section: Marijuana | Neuroprotectants and Antioxidants | Recommended Oral Supplements for Glaucoma | Alternative Medicines That Have Some Evidence Of Benefit | Alternative Medicines Without Proven Benefit | Alternative Medicines That Should be Avoided in Patients with Glaucoma
Canaloplasty is an advanced minimally invasive glaucoma treatment. It is a “non-penetrating” glaucoma surgery which does not require creation of a hole in the eye nor does it result in a “bleb” (blister) as required with the more traditional glaucoma surgery called trabeculectomy (“trab” for short). Read more ->
Topics Covered in this Section: What Is Canaloplasty? | How is Canaloplasty Performed? | Why Canaloplasty? | Is Canaloplasty Safer? | Is Canaloplasty Effective? | Canaloplasty is Pro-Active Lifestyle | Preferred by World’s Respected Eye Surgeons | Patient Testimonials