How to treat glaucoma

There are many options to treat high eye pressure, which makes it easier to find the right treatment for you. We can use eye drops, a variety of laser treatments and surgery to reduce the eye pressure.

Eye drops to treat glaucoma

Eye drops are usually the first treatment prescribed when the eye pressure is high. Modern formulations mean that these are kinder to the eye and cause less irritation and redness than ever before while still reducing the pressure by 20-30% with a once a day application. Where more than one drop is needed, we now have combination treatments where we can deliver two drugs in one bottle. This makes it easier to stick to the prescribed schedule of drops.

Laser surgery to treat glaucoma

When patients find it difficult to put drops in or find sticking to the schedule difficult, then laser treatments are an effective and safe alternative. It is a common mistake to think of glaucoma laser treatments as one single type of laser. However, there are many different types of laser treatment for high eye pressure. Some treat the drainage pathways and encourage the internal fluid within the eye to drain more effectively (selective laser trabeculoplasty or argon laser trabeculoplasty). Some affect the amount of fluid the eye produces (cycloablation) and this can be applied externally or internally(Endocyclophotocoagulation) in the eye. Endocyclophotocoagulation or ECP is a particularly accurate way of applying this laser directly to the tissue and has a more predictable result than the external method of treatment. Ms Crawley has particular expertise in this treatment.

Glaucoma surgery is also varied and can involve cataract surgery alongside laser treatment or the placing of a stent in the drainage pathway. This type of glaucoma surgery is known as Minimally Invasive Glaucoma Surgery or MIGS for short. MIGS is a welcome development as full glaucoma drainage surgery may be too big of an operation for some people. MIGS now gives us options to reduce the pressure in a quicker recovery time.

For some patients, full glaucoma drainage surgery is the only surgery that is likely to work. Trabeculectomy surgery and glaucoma drainage devices or ‘Tubes’ require experienced hands and three months of recovery after surgery. The most important thing to remember is that if you have high eye pressure, a consultation with an experienced and caring glaucoma specialist leads to an individual treatment plan that takes into account your lifestyle, glaucoma severity and personal preferences.