Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that damages the optic nerve and can lead to vision loss or blindness. It is often caused by elevated intraocular pressure (IOP), the pressure within the eye. While many cases of glaucoma can be treated with medication, some individuals may require laser or surgical intervention to manage their condition.
Selective laser trabeculoplasty (SLT) is a type of laser treatment used to manage glaucoma. This procedure uses a low-energy laser to selectively target and treat specific cells in the trabecular meshwork, the part of the eye responsible for draining fluid. By targeting these cells, SLT helps to improve fluid outflow from the eye, reducing intraocular pressure (IOP) and preventing further damage to the optic nerve. One of the advantages of SLT is that it is a non-invasive, painless procedure that can be performed in an outpatient setting. Additionally, SLT does not damage the surrounding tissues in the eye, unlike other types of laser surgery. SLT can be an effective treatment option for some individuals with glaucoma, but it may not be suitable for everyone. As with any medical procedure, it’s important to discuss the potential risks and benefits of SLT with an eye care professional. Regular follow-up appointments and monitoring are also necessary to ensure the success of SLT and prevent further vision loss.
There are several types of surgical treatments available for glaucoma, including trabeculectomy, tube shunt surgery, and minimally invasive glaucoma surgery (MIGS).
Trabeculectomy is a traditional form of glaucoma surgery that involves creating a small flap in the sclera, the white part of the eye, and removing a small piece of tissue from the eye’s drainage system, called the trabecular meshwork. This helps to create a new drainage channel for fluid to flow out of the eye and lower IOP.
Tube shunt surgery involves the placement of a small tube or implant into the eye to help drain excess fluid and lower IOP. This tube is typically placed in the front of the eye and connected to a small reservoir or plate that is implanted in the eye’s tissues.
Minimally invasive glaucoma surgery (MIGS) refers to a group of newer, less invasive surgical procedures that aim to lower IOP by creating new drainage pathways in the eye. These procedures typically involve the use of tiny incisions and specialized tools to bypass or modify the eye’s natural drainage system.
One type of MIGS is trabecular microbypass stent surgery, which involves placing a small implant into the trabecular meshwork to improve fluid outflow from the eye. Another type of MIGS is laser-assisted non-penetrating deep sclerectomy, which involves using a laser to create a small opening in the sclera and remove a portion of the eye’s drainage tissue.
At the Eye and Laser Center, Dr. Kevin Nusz is our experienced surgeon who performs the MIGS procedures. Our advanced in-office surgery suite provides a convenient and comfortable location to have the procedures done without having the disadvantages of a hospital-based procedure.
While each type of glaucoma surgery has its own advantages and risks, all surgical treatments aim to lower IOP and prevent further damage to the optic nerve. However, it’s important to note that surgery may not always be the best option for everyone with glaucoma and should be discussed thoroughly with an eye care professional. Additionally, regular follow-up care and monitoring are critical for successful glaucoma management and prevention of vision loss.