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Glaucoma is a disease of the optic nerve, which plays a vital role in good vision. Glaucoma is a top cause of blindness in people over 60, and the damage often results or associated from high pressure in the eyes. Glaucoma usually has no warning signs and gradually affects people, making early diagnosis important. If you experience signs of glaucoma, don't hesitate to reach out to Optimal Vision for a consultation with a skilled glaucoma specialist. Call us on 020 7183 3725 or book your appointment online today.
The glaucoma specialist doctor will perform a thorough eye exam and review your medical history. They may also recommend several tests such as:
Damages from glaucoma are irreversible, but regular check-ups and treatments can prevent or slow down vision loss, especially when the diagnosis is in the condition’s early stages.
Glaucoma treatment involves reducing eye pressure, also called intraocular pressure. Depending on the diagnosis, treatment options may include oral medications, prescription eye drops, Glaucoma surgery, laser treatment, or a combination of these treatments.
Most glaucoma treatments start with prescription eye drops. The eye drops help reduce eye pressure by enhancing fluid drainage from the eyes or reducing the amount of fluid eyes produce.
Depending on how low the eye pressure targeted, the glaucoma consultant may prescribe one of the following eye drops.
They increase the outflow of eye fluid (aqueous humour), which reduces eye pressure. The medications in this group include travoprost (Travatan ), latanoprost (Xalaran or Monopost), latanoprostene bunod (Vyzulta), tafluprost (Zioptan) and bimatoprost (Lumigan).
The possible side effects are darkening of the iris, stinging in the eyes, mild redness, blurred vision, and darkening of the pigment on the eyelid skin or eyelashes. Prostaglandins require daily usage.
Beta-blockers reduce fluid production in the eye, decreasing eye pressure. They include betaxolol (Betopic) and timolol (Istalol, Betimol, Timoptic).
The side effects include slow heart rate, fatigue, breathing difficulty, and low blood pressure. Beta-blockers are a class of medication prescribed one to two times daily, depending on the condition.
These medications reduce aqueous humour production and increase the outflow of eye fluid. Examples include brimonidine (Qoliana, Alphagan) and apraclonidine (lopidine). Some side effect of this group of medication includes high blood pressure, red, swollen, or itchy eyes, fatigue, and dry mouth.
They are usually prescribed for twice-daily use and three-times daily use in some cases.
They reduce fluid production in the eye. The examples are brinzolamide (Azopt) and dorzolamide (Trusopt). Common side effects of this class of medication include frequent urination, metallic taste, and tingling in the toes and fingers.
Doctors prescribe them for two or three times daily use.
These inhibitors reduce eye pressure by suppressing the rho kinase enzymes that control fluid increase. These medications are available as netarsudil (Rhopressa) and are prescribed for single-use daily. Its side effects are eye discomfort, deposits forming in the cornea, and eye redness.
They increase fluid outflow from the eye. Examples include pilocarpine (Carpine Isopto). Side effects are possible dim or blurred vision, headache, constriction of the pupils, and eye ache.
Doctors prescribe this class of medication for up to four times use daily. Due to the possible side effects and required frequency of use, most doctors no longer prescribe these medications.
Some of these eye drops get absorbed into the bloodstream, leading to side effects that are unrelated to the eyes. To reduce the risk of absorption, ensure you close your eyes for a minute or two after putting the drops into your eyes. You can also press the sides of your ears, near the nose, lightly to close the tear duct, then wipe out unused drops from the eyelid.
If eyedrops do not reduce your eye pressure to the required level, the doctor may prescribe oral medication. In most cases, doctors prescribe carbonic anhydrase inhibitors. The possible side effects include kidney stones, stomach upset, depression, and tingling in the toes and fingers.
Treatments for glaucoma also include laser therapy and other surgical procedures. The following are common options for improving fluid drainage in the eye and reducing eye pressure.
A laser treatment option for glaucoma is Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty. This procedure is painless and short and it helps in treating open-angle glaucoma and is an in-office procedure. The doctor will use a small laser towards the drainage system to increase the flow in the trabecular meshwork. It takes about a few weeks to notice the full effect of this treatment is easy and very effective but may need to be repeated every few years. Many prefer this method rather than daily use of eye drops.
The surgeon can carry out a trabeculectomy to create an opening in the sclera (the white part of the eye) and remove part of the trabecular meshwork.
The surgeon will insert a small tube shunt in the eye to remove excess fluid and reduce the pressure in the tube.
MIGS requires less postoperative care and fewer risks than installing a drainage device and trabeculectomy. Several MIGS techniques are available, and the doctor will recommend the right procedure.
After glaucoma surgery, you need to visit the doctor for follow-up examinations. Some people may need additional procedures if the eye pressure rises again or other eye changes occur.
Acute angle-closure glaucoma requires emergency medical care. If you receive a diagnosis of acute angle-closure glaucoma, you will need urgent treatment to reduce eye pressure. The treatment usually includes laser and medications or other surgical treatments.
Your eye doctor may recommend a procedure known as laser peripheral iridotomy to create a small hole in the iris using a laser. The hole allows eye fluid to flow through, reducing eye pressure. Cataract or lens surgery and removal can open the narrow angles and avoid future closure.
The following tips will help control high eye pressure or enhance eye health.
Eating healthy foods will maintain your health but may not prevent worsening the condition. Different nutrients and vitamins are essential for eye health. These nutrients include antioxidants, selenium, copper, vitamin A, C, and E.
Exercising regularly may reduce eye pressure in people with open-angle glaucoma. Ensure you talk to your doctor to determine the right exercise program.
Increased intake of beverages with caffeine can increase eye pressure.
Drink moderate amounts of fluids at given periods during the day. Taking a quart or more liquid at once may temporarily increase your eye pressure.
Using prescribed eye drops and other medication increases the chances of successful treatment. If you do not use your eye drops as prescribed, the damage to the optic nerve may worsen.
Alternative medicine may improve your overall health but is not proven to effectively treat glaucoma. Ensure you talk to your doctor about the possible risks and benefits of the following.
Some herbal supplements like bilberry extract claim to treat glaucoma. However, avoid using herbal supplements as a replacement for proven therapies. The effect is not unclear.
Stress may induce an attack of acute angle-closure glaucoma. If you have a high risk of this condition, explore healthy ways to manage stress.
If you experience symptoms of glaucoma, you will need to schedule an appointment with your doctor. Before your appointment, make a list of the following.
You can ask your doctor the following questions to understand your condition.
If you see a doctor for possible glaucoma, the glaucoma doctor is likely to ask you the following questions.
If you experience glaucoma symptoms, visit Optimal Vision today to consult with an experienced glaucoma specialist, or call 020 7183 3725 to schedule the appointment.
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