Your doctor has a few different options for treating your glaucoma. You may need medications, laser treatments, or even eye surgery. Laser treatments for glaucoma are becoming popular because they have few side effects and are effective. Laser treatments may eliminate or at least delay the need for surgery. Here is some information about these treatments.
When Laser Treatments Are Suitable
Laser treatments are for people with open-angle glaucoma. Your doctor considers your individual medical history and may recommend the treatments instead of trying glaucoma medication. However, it is likely medications will be tried first, and if your eye pressure is still too high, then the laser treatments may be tried before advancing to eye surgery. The purpose of the laser treatments is to lower the pressure in your eyes. A professional, like Coastal Eye Care, can talk with you about your options and whether or not you should pursue laser treatments.
How The Laser Treatments Are Given
You can undergo these treatments in your eye doctor's office. There is no need to go to a surgery center and have a general anesthetic. Instead, the eye doctor puts drops in that numb your eye for the procedure, so you'll be awake and alert for the treatment. The laser treatment takes several minutes, but you'll be at the eye doctor's office for a few hours so the doctor can check your eye pressure afterward.
It's not expected for your eye pressure to drop right after the treatment. Your doctor wants to monitor the pressure to make sure it doesn't become elevated due to the procedure. To help prevent this, the doctor may give you eye drops before or after the procedure that help lower eye pressure.
Undergoing the laser procedure isn't painful or uncomfortable. The laser doesn't actually burn your eye tissue. Instead, the light beam is focused on a part of your eye where fluid drains out. The light stimulates the drainage area, which causes it to change itself in a way that increases fluid damage. These changes may take a few months to complete.
What To Expect After The Procedure
You may have temporary blurry vision after the laser treatment, but you'll be able to go about your usual activities as soon as you leave the doctor's office. Your doctor will probably have you continue your eye drops until you have a return visit for an eye pressure test. You may eventually get off your glaucoma medication, but it's possible you'll still need to take eye drops every day to keep your pressure in the safe range.
You may have additional laser treatments on following visits. One eye may need multiple treatments, or you may need to have both eyes treated, and they are usually done at different times. The effects from laser treatments aren't necessarily permanent, but they should last for several years. The procedure can be repeated, or if your glaucoma has advanced, your doctor may eventually recommend eye surgery.