Glaucoma treatment

We found 17 clinics & 18 doctors for Glaucoma Worldwide. AiroMedical ranks among 421 hospitals based on qualification, experience, success rate, and awards.

Eye doctors name glaucoma as increased intraocular pressure. It is still one of the most common causes of blindness, and damage to the optic nerve, especially in old age. Glaucoma treatment involves, first of all, the normalisation of intraocular pressure with the help of drugs (eye drops), laser and various surgical operations.

Glaucoma is a chronic eye disorder when the pressure inside the eye rises. If the eye pressure is not reduced to normal in time, the optic nerve dies, which leads to irreversible blindness. In addition, eye diseases develop gradually but eventually lead to complete loss of vision. Glaucoma is a classic example.

Depending on the causes, the course of the disease will be different, and therefore the symptoms of glaucoma may vary in each patient.

  • Open-angle glaucoma is the most frequent type, with a chronic and often asymptomatic course. In this form, the anterior chamber drainage angle, which is responsible for fluid outflow, remains open.
  • Angle-closure glaucoma is due to the blockade of the drainage channels and the fluid outflow. The acute form of angle-closure glaucoma is an emergency condition that requires medical attention.

Glaucoma can be acute, chronic or intermittent. There is also such a concept as "ocular hypertension" - an increase in the intraocular pressure of a non-glaucoma origin. Ocular hypertension is distinguished from glaucoma by a benign course and the absence of damage to the optic nerve.

The disease is pretty common. According to statistics, 14-15% of all blind people on the globe have lost their sight due to glaucoma. Increased eye pressure mainly affects people over 40, but young people (juvenile glaucoma) and even babies (congenital glaucoma) can also happen.

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What is the glaucoma cause?

With primary glaucoma, the problem occurs inside the eye. It is degenerative changes in the optic disc, which progress and are manifested by the development of blind spots (otherwise - scotoma).

Secondary glaucoma is the result of complications of other eye diseases, injuries or after eye operations:

  • Inflammatory diseases (postinflammatory glaucoma): uveitis – inflammation of the middle choroid of the eye, consisting of the choroid, ciliary body and iris. Glaucoma is diagnosed in 10-20% of patients with inflammation of the choroid of the eye;
  • Mature cataract, displacement, dislocation of the lens to the anterior chamber of the eye;
  • Vascular diseases: thrombosis of the vein of the eye with the sprouting of new vessels;
  • Eye injuries (trauma-induced glaucoma): contusions or penetrating wounds when the anterior chamber of the eye is damaged;
  • Degenerative diseases: occurs against the background of diabetic retinopathy, haemorrhages inside the eye, and detachment of the retina;
  • Eye tumours: develops due to the growth of neoplasms (melanomas of the eye, retinoblastomas);
  • Corticosteroids and medicine for various systemic conditions (depression, allergies, Parkinson's disease) may provoke drug-induced glaucoma.

At the same time, congenital glaucoma appears against the background of eye drainage system issues. It is often combined with anomalies of the eyeball.

What are the signs of glaucoma?

The patient may not feel an increase in intraocular pressure to a certain level. At the same time, vision problems arise only at an advanced stage of the disease. Then the patient begins to be bothered by heaviness in the eyes, significant visual impairment, especially in the dark, and a headache that often radiates to the back of the head.

With an acute attack, there is a sharp increase in the pressure of the chamber fluid, compression of the nerve and swelling of the cornea. It is characterised by intense pain, blurred vision, and eye redness. At the same time, the eyeball becomes very hard.

Other frequent signs also include:

  • Nausea, possible vomiting;
  • General weakness;
  • Clinically, the attack is similar to a migraine attack, hypertensive crisis, poisoning;
  • Swelling of the eyelids;
  • The cornea is cloudy;
  • The pupil is dilated and may have an irregular shape;
  • Narrowing of the field of vision and "tunnel" vision is possible;
  • The appearance of a coloured iris around the light source objects.

A sharp drop in visual acuity means an advanced stage and irreversible death of nerve fibres.

How is glaucoma diagnosed?

If glaucoma is suspected, it is necessary to urgently consult an ophthalmologist since both acute and chronic types deteriorate eye functions. Eye doctors examine patients using modern and high-precision equipment:

  • They will check intraocular pressure - tonometry.
  • Determine the hydrodynamic properties of the eye - tonosphygmography.
  • Perform static and dynamic perimetry - screening of visual field, with a determination of the level of light sensitivity.
  • Gonioscopy determines the features of the structure of the corner of the eye.
  • Optical coherence tomography of the retina and optic nerve provides data on the density and changes.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends an eye tonometry every 5-10 years up to the age of 40, every 2-4 years at the age of 40 to 54, and every 1-3 years for persons over 65.

Eye specialists examine the optic disc and visual fields to determine the glaucoma stage:

  • Stage 1 is initial. Normal fields of vision are preserved, or minimal defects are observed.
  • Stage 2 is the development of glaucoma. Again, the visual field narrows and the optic disc's initial changes are noticeable.
  • Stage 3 means progression. The narrowing of the visual field strengthens.
  • Stage 4 is final. Vision is partially preserved, or its loss appears.

Timely and systematic examination by an ophthalmologist for prevention and treatment of glaucoma allows one to avoid or stop the progression. Thanks to this, doctors can save your vision and improve your quality of life. Glaucoma screening programs, which are regularly held in eye clinics, make it possible to detect the disease in time and help preserve vision.

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Glaucoma treatment

Glaucoma is a chronic progressive disease. It means that the symptoms will continue to advance without treatment and end in blindness. However, the early appointment of the correct treatment can stop glaucoma progression for a long time and preserve the ability to work.

The goal of treatment for chronic open-angle glaucoma is to slow the optic nerve atrophy. The most common method is eye drops: beta blockers, prostaglandins, alpha agonists, carbonic anhydrase inhibitors and cholinergic. If the doctor has prescribed eye drops, they must be used regularly, without interruptions.

In some cases, laser treatment is indicated. It is an outpatient, almost painless procedure.

  • Laser peripheral iridotomy (LPI) is the leading method of treating the initial stages. LPI is also an effective method of normalising intraocular pressure. However, in more than half of the cases, there is a need for further drug therapy to control intraocular pressure.
  • Iridoretraction is an effective additional method to open a previously closed glaucoma angle.
  • Selective laser trabeculoplasty (SLT) is the most modern method of glaucoma treatment using a laser. This operation is performed on patients with open-angle glaucoma, mixed, and open-angle glaucoma (after opening the angle).

Modern surgical glaucoma treatments include:

  • Trabeculotomy - is the most common glaucoma surgery. An additional hole is created in the drainage system for the outflow of intraocular fluid.
  • Non-penetrating deep sclerectomy - facilitates the outflow of intraocular fluid and is often combined with the implantation of silicone hydrogel drains.
  • Implantation of a shunt to lower the IOP level and create an outflow pathway.
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The prognosis for glaucoma patients

A complete cure is currently not possible. Glaucoma can move at different rates. Stopping the progression of the disease can be considered a success. Early detection and timely management allow you to preserve vision for a long time.

Statistically, after two years, the disease progresses without treatment in 49 out of 100 patients, with treatment - in 30 out of 100 patients.

FAQ

What is the treatment available for glaucoma?

There are several approaches to glaucoma treatment. The first and primary, in most cases, is drug therapy. In addition, the doctor offers surgical treatment methods (laser and surgical operations). Often, therapy requires a combination of different techniques: a laser with medication or surgery.

Why do patients travel abroad for glaucoma treatment?

Treatment abroad is prevalent among glaucoma patients. The most remarkable achievements in disease study belong to foreign scientists, and doctors are well-known professionals. After all, modern equipment for diagnostics and laser correction, and eye microsurgery is concentrated in modern eye hospitals.

Can I treat glaucoma without surgery?

The primary step in treating glaucoma is selecting eye drops to reduce pressure. During an uncomplicated disease course, it may be enough to eliminate symptoms and slow down the progression. But surgical intervention is inevitable in an emergency or advanced stages.

Is glaucoma surgery successful?

Surgery is used when laser therapy and medications are not effective anymore and cannot be further used in the treatment. About 50% of patients no longer need glaucoma medication after eye surgery.

Can glaucoma lead to optic nerve atrophy?

High intraocular pressure is the primary cause of optic nerve damage. However, treatment (medical and surgical) stop the disease and prevents the development of complications.

Where can I get Glaucoma treatment?

Germany, Turkey, Spain, Poland, Lithuania are among the best for Glaucoma treatment.

5 countries and 10 cities for Glaucoma