Glaucoma is the increased fluid pressure, also called intraocular pressure, in the eyes which results in diminished eyesight. Usually both the eyes get affected simultaneously. Unless the fluid pressure is corrected, there may be a loss of vision.
Since there a few types of glaucoma, the symptoms also vary ranging from vision defects to pain, swelling, rashes or redness of the eyes. Laser surgery has been in vogue these days to correct glaucoma. This article gives a peak into the laser surgery for glaucoma.
Treating Glaucoma With Laser Surgery
Laser beams are highly focused beams of light which can make a hole, wherever required. Laser surgery for glaucoma is an outpatient surgery, wherein there is no need for hospitalization. Just a day’s rest to the eyes is required. Depending on the type and the severity of glaucoma, the particular laser method is decided and surgery performed, out of the various technologies and options available.
To begin with, the eye is made numb in order to avoid pain. There is a special lens which the doctor keeps in front of the eye. Then the procedure of aiming of laser beams begins.
Benefits of Laser Surgery
Laser surgery helps in lowering intraocular pressure (IOP). The long term benefit depends upon the type of glaucoma, type of surgery done, age of the patient and race etc. At times, one has to repeat laser treatment for glaucoma.
Use of Medicines
One has to still depend upon medicines to reduce intraocular pressure, though the dependence on the medicines decreases after the surgery.
Types of Surgeries
There are four major surgeries done for glaucoma.
Selective Laser Trabecuplasty (SLT)
Selective Laser Trabecuplasty (SLT) is done if there is Primary Open Angle Glaucoma (POAG). It treats the affected area selectively and works at a low level. That is the reason for SLT being a safe option. Though there may be a requirement to repeat this surgery.
Argon Laser Trabecoplasty (ALT)
Argon Laser Trabecoplasty (ALT) is also done for Open angle Glaucoma (POAG). In ALT only some of the fluid channels are opened to begin with, so as to avoid overcorrection.
If required, another session is done for some more correction. The success rate of this surgery is not more than 75%.
Laser Peripheral Iridotomy (LPI)
Laser Peripheral Iridotomy (LPI) is done for Angle Closure Glaucoma (ACG). In this a hole is made in the iris to decrease fluid pressure.
YAG Laser Cyclophotocoagulation (YAG CP)
YAG Laser cyclophotocoagulation (YAG CP) is done as an alternate treatment for filtering microsurgery. This works by destroying the ciliary body, but does not destroy it completely. The procedure is done on parts. Ciliary body is responsible for producing intraocular fluid.
Pain, Discomfort and Time of Recovery
Because the eye is made numb, there is no discomfort or pain.
One can go back home after the procedure is done and the next day itself the normal routine can be started.
Laser surgery does carry some risks. Intr ocular pressure may drop too low soon after, in case of those who require YAG CP. This can affect metabolism and the shape of the eyes. Though, with the help of medicines it is likely to get corrected. There is one more risk of onset of cataract after glaucoma. The experts say that this risk is not very high.
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