If you're a patient that's just been diagnosed with glaucoma, you need to know what your diagnosis means for you and what treatment options are available. Glaucoma can often show up later in life, for those with a hereditary transmission of the condition, or it can go hand-in-hand with other illnesses, like cataracts and diabetes. Regardless of the source of your glaucoma, treatment and surgery may be an essential part of maintaining healthy vision. So if you're unfamiliar with how your glaucoma may be controlled, here's what you should know about treatment and surgery options.
Though surgical options can be the primary avenue for treating glaucoma, you may first be offered the option of controlling your glaucoma with pharmaceutical eye drops. Eye drops can either reduce the accumulation of fluid or they can increase the flow of it to reduce intraocular pressure. Though eye drops are an effective means of reducing the pressure of glaucoma that can lead to vision loss and blindness, they have to be administered regularly and can sometimes have negative side effects on the heart and lungs. Eye drops are also not effective at treating complicated cases, such as where cataracts or diabetes may come into play, or ones that are severe.
Even when medical treatments are a viable option for some patients, choosing a surgical alternative may be a more permanent solution to your glaucoma. Surgical options work to relieve intraocular pressure in different ways, and can be performed through laser or microsurgical incisions and implants.
Laser options can target glaucoma in a number of ways to improve the flow or reduce the production of fluid in the middle eye. Though laser surgery is often a lifetime fix, in cases where glaucoma is severe, your doctor may recommend microsurgical options or an eye stent.
Microsurgical options involve making a channel in the cornea to drain fluid with a traditional incision. Making the channel can be a permanent fix for some people with glaucoma, but sometimes this channel through the trabecular meshwork needs to be strengthened with an eye stent. An eye stent called iStent is the smallest FDA-approved medical device on the market, and it can help you treat your glaucoma with minimal need for treatment in the future. Though each eye stent device can cost around $1000, FDA approval means that you have a better chance of getting it paid for by your insurance or Medicare coverage. If you have any questions, consider looking into websites of local specialists, such as http://www.checdocs.org, for further research.