At different treatment stages for glaucoma, two laser treatments and one surgery may be recommended: Laser Peripheral Iridotomy(LPI), Argonne Laser Trabeculoplasty (ALT), and glaucoma surgery.
Glaucoma Treatment: Laser Peripheral Iridotomy (LPI)
This preventative method is used to avoid glaucoma attacks. An eye doctor might notice that the angle of the eye is too narrow during an examination. An angle that is too narrow can cause fluid buildup and prevent proper drainage. This situation could lead to glaucoma. The LPI glaucoma treatment uses a laser to create a small opening in the iris to aid drainage. This treatment does not require any sutures and can be done on an outpatient basis. Anti-inflammatory eye drops are required for the patient to use for approximately one week after the glaucoma treatment. LPI has a high success rate.
Glaucoma Treatment: Argonne Laser Trabeculoplasty (ALT)
Patients with glaucoma who have been previously diagnosed and whose eye pressure is still too high despite various drops can use ALT glaucoma treatment. The laser heats up some tissue during the treatment. This glaucoma treatment heats up the tissue and opens the fluid outflow channels, reducing eye pressure.
The ALT procedure is outpatient and can be done in a matter of hours.
It causes very little discomfort. Before the treatment, a topical anesthetic is applied to the eye. A clear lens is applied to the eye, which will help focus the light in the next step. The laser produces approximately 30-40 flashes of light. The procedure takes approximately ten minutes per eye. Patients usually return home after an hour post glaucoma treatment. After the procedure, anti-inflammatory eye drops will be administered for one week. Within the first four weeks, any reduction in IOP will be visible. The success rate of ALT is around 75%.
Glaucoma surgery (filtration) may be required if all other treatment options have failed. Glaucoma surgery creates a new outlet channel that is compatible with existing channels. This increased drainage helps to reduce eye pressure and prevent further eye damage. Glaucoma surgery can not reverse or improve the damage done by the disease. It is used to prevent further damage and the worsening of the condition. It has a success rate of about 80%.
The surgery for glaucoma is performed on an outpatient basis. There is no need to stay in a hospital. The entire procedure takes less than an hour. Local anesthesia is used, and some sutures may be required for the surgery. These will need to be removed afterward. After the surgery, patients will need to use anti-inflammatory and antibiotic eye drops for several days. Although blurred vision is possible after surgery, it is usually temporary. About 2/3 of people who have this glaucoma surgery experience success.