Glaucoma

Glaucoma, describes a group of eye diseases that cause the damage to the optic nerve by increased pressure of the fluid inside the eye.  Early diagnosis and treatment of glaucoma is essential in preventing serious sight loss. 

At ACES we offer advanced Glaucoma Screening which is able to detect glaucoma at an early stage, long before traditional eye examinations would pick up the condition.

Our experienced Specialist Clinicians can recommend treatment plan and monitor it’s effectiveness through regular follow up appointments.  The aim of the treatment is to stabilise the condition to slow or halt progression of the condition.

What causes glaucoma?

In the early stages, people with Glaucoma have no symptoms however as the condition progresses, symptoms will develop over time and can result in permanent loss of vision.

Glaucoma normally occurs when the fluid pressure inside the eye rises causing damage to the optic nerve which connects the eye to the brain.  There are several different types of glaucoma with different symptoms and severity of symptoms associated with each.

For example, Chronic Open Angle Glaucoma does not cause any pain and people may be unaware they have the condition until vision has become effected in later stages.  People with Angle Closure Glaucoma can notice significant changes to their vision such as a sudden reduction in vision and seeing halos around lights.   These symptoms can be accompanied with severe pain, nausea and headaches and require urgent medical attention.

Early detection of glaucoma is essential and treatments are available to treat and / or slow the progression of symptoms. In general, the aim of glaucoma treatments is to lower the pressure inside the eye.

Getting a diagnosis

Glaucoma can be detected during a routine eye test.  To maintain good eye health and monitor for conditions such as Glaucoma it is important to attend an eye test at least once every two years.  Your Optometrist may recommend you have an eye test more frequently if for example you have a family member who has been diagnosed with Glaucoma.

The advanced Glaucoma Screening available at ACES uses sophisticated state-of-the-art technology to provide early detection of Glaucoma that is not possible with a routine eye test.

If you have been told you are being monitored for or have Glaucoma, your Optometrist can refer you to ACES for further examination by one of our specialist ophthalmologists who will assess the stage of glaucoma to understand the level of damage that has already occurred, if any, and assess the risk of further damage developing.  If diagnosis of Glaucoma is confirmed, a treatment plan will be recommended by a specialist ACES clinician.

What treatments are available for glaucoma?

There are several treatment options available for glaucoma, but the best treatment option will depend on the type of glaucoma you have and the symptoms which you are experiencing.

Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty

It is possible to use medicated eye drops which manage Glaucoma by maintaining the pressure inside the eye.   For some, a laser surgery known as Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty is the most appropriate treatment option.

Available at ACES, Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty is a good option for those who find the regular use of eye drops difficult or who are unable to tolerate their side effects.   The treatment can also be used alongside medication to further enhance their effect of lowering pressure inside the eye.  

YAG Laser Iridotomy

YAG laser iridotomy is a procedure used to help problems with the circulation of the fluid within your eye. This can be picked up during an otherwise routine eye test. It can lead to a very painful type of glaucoma called angle closure glaucoma.

The simplest form of treatment for this condition is laser treatment. A laser is used to create a small hole or opening in the iris which allows the fluid in the eye to flow freely, reducing pressure on the eye, which is the cause of damage to the eyes central and peripheral vision. 

On your day of treatment

When you attend for your appointment you will be seen by an experienced ACES consultant who will confirm that your eyes are suitable for treatment. You will have the opportunity to discuss any concerns at this stage.

We may put drops in your eye to constrict your pupil. This lets us get a good view of the peripheral iris (coloured part) where the laser is applied. The drops will take 15 minutes to take effect. They may blur your vision for several hours.

During your treatment

We will position you at the laser. We will then put in anaesthetic drops to make the procedure comfortable.

We may put a contact lens on the eye to minimise the amount of laser energy needed. This feels a little odd but is not uncomfortable. The laser takes a few minutes.

After Treatment

At the end of the procedure more drops are put in the eye to help stabilise the pressure and stop the eye becoming inflamed. You can then go home. You may be given drops to take at home.

Your vision may be a little hazy for a number of hours after the treatment so it is advised not to drive until it clears.

How do I get referred for treatment?

If you are being monitored for Glaucoma your Optometrist can refer you to the specialist clinicians at ACES for further clinical assessment. 

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