Why glaucoma needs immediate treatment

Why glaucoma needs immediate treatment


When a glaucoma specialist diagnoses glaucoma
in a patient then obviously treatment has to commence. The treatment is aimed at lowering
the intraocular pressure such that further damage to the optic nerve does not happen
and the visual field defects are preserved, so that blindness is avoided. Sometimes we
can detect glaucoma at a very early stage, even before field defects have happened, by
looking at subtle changes in the optic nerve which is identified with the help of advanced
optic nerve scans. The optic nerve scans are even done by scan machines at the high street
optometrists and they are called optical coherence tomography scans, OCT scans. So when you have an an examination at the
high street optometrists, from the glaucoma perspective, the optician can check the pressure
in your eye, which is called the intraocular pressure. They can do the visual field examination
to identify or look for any defects and they can also look at the optic nerve by doing
what is called OCT scans of the optic nerve. If there is any suspicion within the findings
that there is a suspicion of glaucoma then the patient is referred to the hospital specialist
and will be eventually seen by the glaucoma specialist. It is the job of the glaucoma
specialist to then identify if there is glaucoma or if there isn’t. When the diagnosis is
made then the glaucoma specialist looks at a number of factors to decide the best treatment.
It depends on the stage of glaucoma, whether it is at a very early stage or whether there
is already a lot of damage and the glaucoma is advanced. It also considered various other
factors like the type of glaucoma, the age of the patient because obviously the younger
the patient, there is a greater importance to arrest the disease so that the vision is
preserved for the rest of the lifetime. When all these factors are considered, the
consultant will make a choice of treatment which can be either medical treatment or with
lasers or with surgery. Obviously when the disease is very early, then treatment is easy
enough and the easiest way to start treatment is by prescribing eye drops. These eye drops
are drugs which penetrate the eye when they are instilled in the eye and they work to
reduce the pressure by a number of ways. Nowadays there is a very new treatment even
at the start when glaucoma is very early and that is by laser, what is called selective
laser trabeculoplasty. I have been doing selective laser trabeculoplasty or SLT as it is called
in brief for a number of years and it is done at the Midland Eye Care in Burton-upon-Trent.

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