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Treating Glaucoma

By: Heather Marshall - Updated: 5 Oct 2013 | comments*Discuss
Glaucoma eye Drops laser Surgery eye

Many people who are diagnosed with an eye condition such as glaucoma, fear that they will lose their sight completely. However if the condition is caught early enough there are several treatments which can be used to minimise any potential sight loss.

Treatments are effective when the condition has been detected in the early stages. All treatments reduce the pressure in the eye and can consist of eye drop tablets, laser treatment or surgery. Some treatments help to improve the blood supply to the optic nerve.

If you have glaucoma you will have to go to the hospital eye clinic for treatment and have regular check-ups with the ophthalmologist (specialist eye doctor.) Depending on how serious the glaucoma is you may be able to see your optician for check-ups. In some parts of the country you may be able to have your condition monitored by your local optician. When you are first diagnosed you will be told where to go for treatment and follow-up checks.

Chronic Glaucoma

Chronic glaucoma is one of the main types of the condition. For chronic glaucoma eye drops are usually prescribed to begin with. The drops will reduce the amount of liquid in the eye and improve drainage. It is imperative that patients continue to use the eye drops every day even if their vision seems good. A patient’s sight may appear normal but it could be getting worse without them noticing. According to the RNIB many patients with glaucoma often stop taking the eye drops because they believe the glaucoma is under control. However if a patient doesn’t continue to use the eye drops as prescribed their sight may become gradually worse and they could lose their sight.

If the drops do not work sufficiently then your ophthalmologist may suggest laser treatment or a surgical procedure called a trabeculectomy which will improve the drainage of fluid around the eye.

Acute Glaucoma

Many people experience a series of mild attacks where their vision seems misty with coloured rings around white lights. A severe attack can be very painful, your sight will deteriorate and you could even black out. Whether you have several mild attacks or a sudden acute attack you will need to go to the hospital straight away. Drugs will be given to reduce the pain and pressure. If treated early, an acute attack can be brought under control and your sight will begin to return. Laser treatment or minor surgery will be needed but is not painful. It involves making a small hole in the outer border of the iris (the coloured part of the eye) to relieve the blockage and allow the fluid to drain away. The ophthalmologist may advise treatment in the other eye to prevent the condition developing in both eyes.

Eye Tests

If you or a family member has glaucoma, it is important to have regular eye tests. Eye tests are not only important to detect the condition early, but to ensure the condition is controlled once it is diagnosed. The optician will be able to monitor the disease and ensure a persons vision is not deteriorating any further. Annual eye tests are available on the NHS for those with glaucoma and also for those who are aged over 40 and have a close family member with the condition - that is a mother, father, sister or brother.

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I have been told I have glaucoma. I was giving a appointment to the hospital by my doctor.after my optician who was concerned about my near vision ( reading ) which is about + 4.5 I am 61. my understanding of glaucoma that it does not effect near vision at first. my distant vision is not bad at around +1 it can be corrected with glasses my field test as far as I know is fine but was not told the results. my optician told me he thought it was early macular degeneration. I now been told by the hospitalto take eye drops everyday for glaucoma or I would go blind. is it possible that my glaucoma is that far advanced that I did not see any change in my side vision only now with poor near vision am I beginning to notice They also done laser treatment on me before the eye drops but it did not work for what reason I did not know.
les - 5-Oct-13 @ 10:18 AM
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