Answers to Questions Our Glaucoma Patients Ask the Most
Submitted by Atlanta Vision Cataract and Laser Center on July 31, 2022
Glaucoma is an eye condition where an accumulation of pressure in the eye gradually damages the optic nerve. Left untreated, glaucoma can cause irreversible vision loss and, in extreme cases, even blindness. If you are diagnosed with glaucoma, it is imperative that you receive treatment. Here our doctors at Atlanta Vision Laser and Cataract Center share answers to some of the glaucoma questions they hear most often, so that you know what to expect from laser treatment.
Can Glaucoma Really Be Treated with a Laser?
For patients who have open angle glaucoma (the type of glaucoma that most patients with this condition have), it certainly can! At our practice, we offer selective laser trabeculoplasty (SLT), a minimally invasive procedure that uses bursts of light energy to stimulate the eye’s natural healing systems and promote improved drainage capabilities. SLT is not only safe, but also highly effective. After the fluid escapes, pressure decreases by 20 to 30%. Even if pressure buildup returns years later, the procedure can be repeated to provide new relief.
Is SLT Appropriate for the Early Stages of Glaucoma?
Our doctors generally recommend SLT to patients who have more serious cases of glaucoma. Fortunately, that does not mean that you need to wait until your glaucoma gets worse to act. We offer a second procedure, minimally invasive glaucoma surgery (or MIGS), which is a gentle, customizable surgery aimed at enhancing drainage. Research suggests that patients who seek treatment earlier have better outcomes than those who procrastinate, so if your doctor catches glaucoma early, discuss your treatment strategy.
How Much Does Laser Treatment for Glaucoma Hurt?
Your eye doctor provides anesthetic (numbing) eyedrops before performing the procedure, so you should not experience significant discomfort. However, your eyes are likely to feel swollen or moderately achy once the numbing agent wears off. For this, you may take over-the-counter pain medication to manage the pain; eye drops are also generally successful at relieving lingering pain.
When Will I Be Able to See Again after My Procedure?
Laser treatment can mean blurry vision on the same day as your treatment, but by the time you wake up the next day, you should see well enough to continue with your normal activities, including going to work. Just be sure to continue taking your glaucoma medication.
As far as assessing how much pressure has been relieved from your eyes, allow significant time before deciding how effective the procedure was. It can take several weeks for the eyes to drain completely, at which point you can decide whether you still need to use glaucoma eyedrops.
We Are Here to Answer All Your Questions
While these questions are a good introduction to how glaucoma is treated at our eye practice, most patients have many more inquiries that we are happy to answer. To arrange a personal conversation and learn the best way to protect your eyesight, please schedule a consultation online today.