Glaucoma treatment

Glaucoma treatment

What is Glaucoma?

“Glaucoma nz offers a great support service to glaucoma patients and their families. Give them a call if you would like to know more – 0800 452 826″

Glaucoma is an eye disease that occurs when the ‘drainage pipe’ of the eye becomes blocked and increases pressure within the eye, causing damage to the optic nerve. If the entire nerve is destroyed, blindness results.

Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness in adults and is fairly common in adults over the age of 35. Three out of every 100 persons in this age group have vision threatened by this disease. Many factors increase the risk of damage, such as a history of glaucoma in the family and general health problems such as diabetes, migraine, arteriosclerosis or anaemia.

Detection and Diagnosis

Only an ophthalmologist can treat glaucoma.  If you are over age 40, you should have your eyes checked for glaucoma every 2 or 3 years. Your family doctor should be consulted whenever there is any decrease in vision or recurrent pain, or when any of the other symptoms discussed are present. When diagnosed early, blindness from glaucoma is almost always controllable with ongoing treatment.

Glaucoma Treatments

Eye drops or pills
Glaucoma is usually controlled by eye drops or pills in various combinations. The purpose of these is to decrease pressure by assisting outflow or decreasing inflow of fluid. Sometimes medication can cause undesirable side effects such as stinging, reddening, or blurring of the eye and occasional headaches. Such side effects usually disappear after a few weeks. Eye drops may affect your pulse, heartbeat and breathing. Pills sometimes
cause tingling of fingers and toes, drowsiness, loss of appetite, bowel irregularities, and occasional kidney stones. Medication should never be stopped without first contacting your doctor.

SurgeryIf medications are poorly tolerated or ineffective in controlling pressure in chronic open-angle glaucoma, surgery may become necessary to form a new drainage canal in the eye. Fortunately, serious complications are uncommon in modern glaucoma surgery and surgery may be the best alternative if optic nerve damage is occurring.

Laser Therapy
An exciting new development in the treatment of glaucoma is selective laser trabeculoplasty.
A low energy laser is gently applied to the outflow channels of the eye. This revolutionary treatment is relatively safe, painless and effective. It also avoids the possible side effects of medication.

Treatment

All types of glaucoma need periodic observation and treatment. It is always important to inform all the medical practitioners you visit about the eye medications you are using.

A decision to have treatment

As you consider treatment, make sure that you understand the risks, benefits and limitations associated with the treatment. If you have any questions, ask your ophthalmologist.

Want more information?

Some information within this website has been supplied by The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Opthamologists (RANZCO). If you would like more information visit www.RANZCO.edu

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FAQ'S


What causes blockages?

  • The pipe may have been imperfectly formed. This type of defect is seen in congenital, childhood or juvenile glaucoma, where the drainage openings are malformed from birth.
  • Debris and deposits can build up slowly within  the ‘drainage pipe’. This is known as chronic or primary open angle glaucoma because it develops slowly. Often the patient is unaware of  trouble until the optic nerve is badly damaged.
  • A sheet of tissue may suddenly drop over the  drainage opening – resulting in a rapid build up of eye pressure. Such a sudden blockage results in acute angle-closure glaucoma. Blurred vision, severe pain, coloured rings around lights, nausea and vomiting should bring the patient quickly to the doctor. Unless this condition is relieved promptly, blindness can result in a day or two.
  • Injuries, drugs, haemorrhages, tumours, inflammations and other conditions can also block outflow channels in the eye, which can result in secondary glaucoma.

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