Glaucoma is a group of diseases that can damage the eye's optic nerve and result in vision loss and blindness. Glaucoma occurs when the normal fluid pressure inside the eyes slowly rises. However, with early treatment, you can often protect your eyes against serious vision loss.
There are two types of surgical treatment: laser surgery and conventional surgical techniques.
During laser treatment for open-angle glaucoma, laser light is aimed at the eye's trabecular meshwork (the eye's drainage system). The laser application results in a biological and mechanical reaction in the trabecular meshwork to open the previously blocked meshwork and increases the flow of aqueous fluid from the eye.
Laser surgeries are preformed in a doctor's office in a facility called an ambulatory surgical center or in a hospital. Some patients may experience a slight stinging sensation, the procedures are usually painless. In some instances, local anesthetic agents are used, in which case there is little if any discomfort.
When the procedure is over, patients may experience blurred vision and some irritation. Normal activities, such as driving and work, may be resumed the next day.
The most common conventional (incision) surgical technique is called filtering microsurgery, which involves making a hole through which the excess fluid drains and lowers pressure in the eye. Conventional surgery is used if medication and laser procedures have not been successful or if there is a medical emergency for which pressure must be relieved immediately.
Microsurgical procedures are performed in an ambulatory surgical center or on an outpatient basis at a hospital. Patients are usually given limited intravenous sedation but may be given general anesthesia. Medication may also be administered around the eye to prevent its movement. Typically, patients are relaxed and experience little if any discomfort.
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