What is glaucoma and what is the glaucoma treatment?


Glaucoma is raised intraocular pressures that lead to damage to the optic nerve. Not all increased eye pressure means glaucoma–this is a condition called ocular hypertension, which means that the eye pressure is high but is not high enough to cause damage to the nerve, which lies in the back of the eye.

There are various causes of glaucoma. Most of the time, we don’t know the exact cause. It’s just one of those things which affect the eyes, and the fluids cannot be drained out of the eye so quickly and so effectively, which means the pressure starts to build up inside the eye. It’s a disease that usually affects the middle-aged and above.

It is very rare for children to have glaucoma, although this can happen, but the treatment will be more or less similar to what we do with adult glaucoma.

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Eye drops to manage glaucoma

The management of glaucoma mainly is through eye drops–thanks to the advanced pharmaceutical advances, where we can just put a couple of eye drops, and this helps keep the eye pressure under control. These eye drops have to be put in the eyes for life because the pressure is only better when you put the drops in, but if you do not continue to use your eye drops, then the pressure will continue to go up again, and that can cause fatal damage to the back of the eye.

Surgical intervention

If drops alone are not enough, then surgical intervention might be required. There are various ways to do the surgery. Some are very advanced, called minimally invasive tubes. Minimally invasive tubes are tiny stents put inside the eye to allow or to enhance the drainage of the fluids from the eye. More invasive surgery is called tubes or valves, which are artificial devices inserted in the eye to drain the fluids. Sometimes we do what we call trabeculectomy, which is a way to create a natural valve in the eye to drain the fluids when the pressures start to creep up.

The management of glaucoma has improved a lot in the last few years. We have better modalities in addressing the raised pressure in the eye, and it’s very rare now for patients to go blind from glaucoma.

Glaucoma treatment can be combined with cataract surgery

One example of managing glaucoma is patients coming for cataract surgery and glaucoma at the same time. So one of the nice and advanced ways to control the eye pressure is to do the cataract operation first. At the end of the procedure, we insert a small stent inside the eye, which allows the fluids to drain nicely and help to control the eye pressure after surgery. In those cases, this is glaucoma that is not really advanced. It is controlled with a topical medication, and then MIGS or minimally invasive devices like stents help very well to keep the eye pressure under control.

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About the expert

Mr Samer Hamada | Consultant Ophthalmologist and Corneal Surgeon

MD, MSc, DO (hons), FRCSEd, FRCOphth I am Samer Hamada, founder and consultant ophthalmic surgeon with over 20 years’ experience in ophthalmology. I am a world-renowned specialist in cornea, cataract and refractive surgery. I’m not only a leading surgeon but also the only dual fellowship trained in corneal diseases in children from reputable institutions in the UK. At Eye Clinic London I work closely with other consultant ophthalmologists, optometrists and orthoptists to achieve the best outcomes for our patients. Our main aim is to make sure our patients get the safest and best treatments available to them. We put your safety before anything else so you can rest assured that if you choose us you will be in the best and safest hands.

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