Glaucoma is a complicated disease in which damage to the optic nerve leads to progressive, irreversible vision loss. Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness.
Glaucoma surgery involves either laser treatment or making a cut in the eye to reduce the intraocular pressure. The type of surgery your doctor recommends will depend on the type and severity of your glaucoma and the general health of your eye.
Surgery can help lower pressure when medication is not sufficient. However, it cannot reverse vision loss.
Laser surgeries have become important in the treatment of different eye problems and diseases. There are several types of laser surgery used to treat glaucoma.
The type of laser surgery will depend on the form of glaucoma and how severe it is. Lasers produce a focused beam of light that can make a very small burn or opening in your eye tissue, depending on the strength of the light beam. Laser surgeries are performed in an outpatient setting in your doctor’s office or in a hospital clinic.
During the laser surgery, the eye is numbed so that there is little or no pain. The eye doctor then holds a special lens to the eye. The laser beam is aimed into the eye, and there is a bright light, like a camera flash.
Read more about laser surgeries for glaucoma.
In contrast, conventional surgery (filtering microsurgery) involves creating a drainage hole with the use of a small surgical tool. This new opening allows the intraocular fluid to bypass the clogged drainage canals and flow out of this new, artificial drainage canal.
When laser surgery does not successfully lower eye pressure, or the pressure begins to rise again, the doctor may recommend conventional surgery. If necessary, glaucoma surgery can be done several times without substantial risk.
Read more about conventional surgery.