Glaucoma Eye Disease: Laser and Surgical Approaches

Glaucoma eye disease is a condition wherein the optic nerve is gradually damaged or loses its function due to several causes. The optic nerve is the major nerve of vision. Basically, this nerve receives light-generated impulses from the retina and transmits it to the brain.Glauco

The brain then converts these impulses into our perception of vision of images. Glaucoma eye disease is a progressive condition characterized by loss of side vision (peripheral vision). If it remains untreated, it may lead to irreversible blindness.

For the most part, glaucoma is associated with an increase in intraocular pressure (IOP). However, another form of glaucoma exists with normal IOP.

This kind of glaucoma is usually caused by poor circulation of blood to the optic nerve.

Globally, glaucoma eye disease is considered as the leading cause of blindness. Approximately 6 million people worldwide are actually bilaterally blind due to this condition.

In US alone, approximately 3 million people have glaucoma but only half of these people know that they are suffering from this condition.

Specifically, glaucoma initially presents no obvious symptoms. Even the loss of peripheral vision may occur gradually and remain unnoticed until the central vision is affected.

The main cause of glaucoma is the elevation in the intraocular pressure. Because the glaucoma eye disease does not present obvious symptoms, one should be aware of the risk factors in order to address any glaucoma-related symptom noticed.

Among others, the following are the risk factors of this condition: genetic history of glaucoma, people who are 45 years old and up, Diabetes, black racial ancestry, nearsightedness, history of steroid use, near and far sightedness, and history of injury to the eye.

There are basically two types of glaucoma: the open-angle and the closed-angle glaucoma.  The open angle glaucoma is the most common type of glaucoma. This is characterized by a slow clogging of the drainage canals which results in increased intraocular pressure. Basically, open angle glaucoma has symptoms that are barely noticeable.

Closed-angle glaucoma, on the other hand, is caused by blocked drainage area. Its symptoms are very obvious and noticeable. Because angle-closure glaucoma occurs suddenly, the person suffering from this type of glaucoma should seek immediate medical attention.

Aside from medication administration, laser and surgery are some of the approaches in treating glaucoma. The utilization of laser in glaucoma eye disease may involve laser iridotomy, laser trabeculoplasty and laser cyclo-ablation. Laser iridotomy involves the creation of a whole in the iris in order to drain the aqueous humor (fluid) in narrow or angle-close glaucoma.

Laser trabeculoplasty, on the other hand, is the utilization of the microscopic laser in order to burn the angle which causes the clog. The laser cyclo-ablation is the freezing of the ciliary body, the one responsible for the production of the aqueous humor, thereby, reducing IOP.

The surgical approach in treating glaucoma eye disease is termed as trabeculectomy. In this procedure, the trabecular meshwork which causes the clog is removed and a new drainage exit is created in order to lower the IOP. If done properly and effectively, this approach is considered as the most effective method of lowering the eye pressure.