Glaucoma refers to a group of progressive diseases in which cells and fibers of the optic nerve are damaged, affecting the transmission of signals from the eye to the brain. The most common form is Primary Open Angle Glaucoma (POAG). You might not experience symptoms at first, but eventually as the disease progresses, your field of vision will narrow and can lead to blindness if not treated early.
Your doctor will use tonometry (puff test) to measure your intraocular pressure. Should it exceed normal range, he or she might, as a first step, prescribe eye drops to lower the intraocular pressure (IOP).
Because eye drops are often costly and troublesome to self-administer, many people choose to have an SLT (Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty). It’s a safe, painless and effective in-office procedure in which the laser is applied through a special contact lens to the drainage system of the eye where it stimulates a biochemical change that improves the outflow of fluid from the eye.
Another issue that can occur is Narrow-Angle Glaucoma. It happens suddenly, when the colored portion of your eye (iris) is pushed or pulled forward. This causes blockage of the drainage angle of the eye, where the trabecular meshwork allows outflow of fluids. Once again, a non-invasive laser can cure the potential threat to vision, this time by creating a tiny opening in the iris (an iridotomy). This serves as a permanent safety valve to prevent a future glaucoma attack. Like SLT, the laser iridotomy is painless and takes minutes to perform on an outpatient basis.