Surgery involves either laser treatment or making a cut in the eye to reduce the intraocular pressure. The type of surgery your doctor recommends will depend on the type and severity of your glaucoma and the general health of your eye.
Your eye doctor will give you prescription eye drops or oral medicine to lower the pressure in your eye. If drugs don’t work, surgery is the next step.
If the medicine causes severe side effects like high blood pressure, rapid heartbeat, or impotence, you may want to try surgery instead. Some people need it right away if their eye pressure is high and puts their vision at risk.
Argon laser trabeculoplasty (ALT): This opens clogs in your eye so fluid can drain out. Your doctor may treat half of the clogs first, see how well it works, then treat the other half later. ALT works in about 75% of people with the most common kind of glaucoma.
Selective laser trabeculoplasty (SLT): If ALT doesn’t work so well, your doctor may try this. Your doctor beams a highly targeted low-level laser at just the spots where there’s pressure. You can do SLT a little at a time.
Laser peripheral iridotomy (LPI): If the space between your eye’s iris (the colored part) and cornea (the clear outer layer) is too small, you can get narrow-angle glaucoma. Fluid and pressure build up in this area. LPI uses a laser beam to create a tiny hole in the iris. The extra fluid can drain and relieve pressure.
Cyclophotocoagulation: If other laser treatments or surgery doesn't ease fluid buildup and pressure, your doctor can try this. He’ll beam a laser into a structure inside your eye to ease pressure. You may need to repeat it over time to keep your glaucoma in check.
Your eyesight may be a little blurry right after the treatment. It may feel a little sore, too. In a couple of hours, the doctor will check your eye pressure. You’ll need someone to drive you home after the surgery.
You may need to stay on your medications after laser surgery to keep your eye pressure under control.
If laser surgery or drugs don’t relieve your eye pressure, you may need a more traditional operation. You might have to go into the hospital or surgery center, and you’ll probably need a few weeks to heal and recover.
You’ll get drugs to numb your eye and relax you. You shouldn’t feel any pain. You may feel really drowsy during the operation.
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