The goal of glaucoma treatment is to maintain your sight, which is generally accomplished by lowering and managing the pressure inside your eye. At Southern Eye Center, we offer the most advanced and specialized technology for treating glaucoma and a world-class fellowship-trained glaucoma team to offer you the best glaucoma treatment possible.
Trabeculectomy is an advanced surgical option that lowers the pressure inside your eye by making a small hole in the eye wall that allows eye fluid to gently drain from inside the eye to a small reservoir under the surface of the eye. Your surgeon will create a small hole with measured precision to ensure that the fluid doesn’t drain too quickly and drains only the proper amount of fluid to manage your eye pressure. As with other glaucoma treatments, a trabeculectomy can only help relieve eye pressure on the optic nerve and reduce any further vision loss; it cannot restore any vision you have already lost due to glaucoma.
Tube shunt procedures are often performed after a patient has had a trabeculectomy that has not helped lower pressure in the eye. A tube shunt procedure involves placing a flexible tube with a drainage pouch into the eye to help drain fluid from the eye and lower your eye pressure.
Minimally-Invasive Glaucoma Surgery (MIGS)
More traditional glaucoma treatments, such as trabeculectomies and tube shunts, are often effective at reducing eye pressure but carry some risk of complications. Recent innovations in glaucoma treatment have led to a new group of operations that have been developed in recent years to reduce some of the complications of most standard glaucoma surgeries. Together, these newer operations are called minimally-invasive glaucoma surgery (MIGS)
The iStent is the world’s smallest medical device known to be implanted in the body. This device helps control the increased pressure in your eye by creating two openings between the front part of your eye and the natural drainage paths of your eye to help increase the flow of fluid out of your eye. By creating these permanent openings through the areas that are often blocked from draining properly, the iStent is designed to improve your eye’s natural drainage and safely lower your eye pressure.
CPC is a new innovation in glaucoma treatment. During a CPC procedure, the part of the eye that produces internal eye fluid (called the ciliary body) is treated with a gentle laser which reduces fluid production in the eye. A laser probe is placed on the white wall of the eye and 15-25 gentle laser treatments are administered to reduce fluid production. CPC is a proven and effective surgical laser treatment for treating many types of glaucoma.
Endoscopic CycloPhotocoagulation (ECP)
ECP is a revolutionary new treatment option for patients suffering from many common types of glaucoma. During an ECP procedure, the part of the eye that produces internal eye fluid (called the ciliary body) is treated with a gentle laser at one precise location, which reduces the fluid production of the eye. By lowering the amount of new fluid production, overall eye pressure is also lowered and managed. This procedure features the surgeon using an endoscopic scope to view the area of treatment, which ensures an accurate and precise treatment. A majority of patients who receive an ECP procedure have their glaucoma medications reduced or eliminated due to the success of the ECP procedure in managing their eye pressure.
Goniotomy is a procedure for children in which a surgeon uses a specialized lens called a “goniolens” to view the internal structures of the front part of the eye. The surgeon will make an opening in the series of drainage canals within the structure where fluid leaves the eye. This artificial opening provides an additional way for fluid to flow out of the eye to better manage eye pressure.
A canaloplasty procedure uses a small tube placed in the natural site of drainage for healthy eyes in order to enlarge the drainage canal and relieve internal eye pressure. Ab-interno canaloplasty (ABiC™) re-establishes the eye’s natural drainage system and has been shown to reduce eye pressure by 30% and reduce glaucoma medication dependence by 50%. Gonioscopy-assisted transluminal trabeculotomy (GATT) is another advanced canaloplasty procedure that only requires the surgeon to create two micro-incisions, promotes natural drainage, can be performed quickly, and doesn’t limit your future surgical options for glaucoma or other eye conditions.
Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT)
SLT is a laser treatment for glaucoma that is used when eye drop medications alone are not properly lowering eye pressure or are causing significant side effects. SLT has been used to treat millions of Americans for more than 25 years. In an SLT procedure, laser energy is used on the drainage tissue in your eye, which results in better drainage of fluid out of the eye. For some patients, lower eye pressure from an SLT procedure takes 1-3 months to achieve. SLT has been shown to lower eye pressure by up to 30% when used as an initial treatment. The pressure reduction achieved by an SLT procedure will usually last for up to 5 years after the procedure.
Laser Peripheral Iridotomy (LPI)
Since 1984, LPI has been used as a first-line treatment and prevention option for patients with closed-angle glaucoma. In an LPI procedure, a small hole is created at the outer edge of the iris, which opens and widens the “angle” of the eye (the shaped space between the cornea and the iris). After the angle is opened, fluid can more easily drain from the eye and pressure is released. As with all other glaucoma treatments, LPI can only reduce eye pressure to preserve your current vision – it cannot restore vision that has already been lost.
Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness in the United States, but it can be prevented or properly managed by a specialized team of surgeons and staff. If you are suffering from glaucoma or believe you may be experiencing early signs of glaucoma risk, set up your glaucoma consultation with Southern Eye Center to help preserve your vision for a lifetime.