Ophthalmology - Glaucoma
- What is Glaucoma?
- Glaucoma surgery and procedure
Are you interested in treatment for glaucoma in Belgium?
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What is glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a group of eye conditions that damage the optic nerve, which is vital to good vision. This damage is caused by an abnormally high pressure in the eye.
It is one of the leading causes of blindness and can occur at any age but is most common in older adult. The most common form of glaucoma has no warning signs. The impairment goes so fast, you might not even notice that you are suffering from glaucoma at the beginning until it reaches an advanced stage.
Vision loss due to glaucoma cannot be recovered, that’s why it is so important to have regular eye check-ups that include measurements of the eye pressure. Glaucoma can be slowed or prevented but it cannot be fully healed and you will need treatment for the rest of your life if it is not detected in an early stage.
Different stages of glaucoma
Open-angle glaucoma is the most common form of the disease. It causes pressure in the eye that damages the optic nerve. The symptoms occur so slowly that people who have glaucoma don’t even notice it until it is almost too late.
- Acute angle-closure glaucoma occurs when the iris bulges forward to narrow or block the drainage angle formed by the cornea and iris. As a consequence, fluid can’t circulate through the eye and the pressure increases.
- Normal-tension glaucoma which damages your optic nerve even though your eye pressure is normal. There is no reason for this, but it is assumed that some people just have less blood circulating in and around their optic nerve or they are just more sensitive.
- Glaucoma in children may be present from birth or can occur during childhood. In these cases, the optic nerve damage is mostly caused by drainage blockages or underlying medical condition.
- Pigmentary glaucoma where pigment granules from your iris build up in the drainage channels and block your fluid from exiting your eye.
The doctor will look at your medical history, therefore a few check-ups and examinations are required:
- Tonometry: measure the intraocular pressure
- Test for damage of the optic nerve
- Visual field test: checking for areas of vision loss
- Pachymetry: measure corneal thickness
- Gonioscopy: inspecting the drainage angle
For international patients, it is recommended to provide us your medical history and medical documents so the doctor can decide if a preliminary examination in Belgium is necessary.
Glaucoma surgery and procedure
Eyedrops prescriptions (in combination with oral medication) won’t heal your glaucoma but will decrease the eye pressure and improve the drainage of fluid in your eye.
Surgery and other therapies:
- Laser trabeculoplasty is an option for people who suffer from open-angle glaucoma. A laser beam is used to open clogged channels in the trabecular meshwork. It often takes a few weeks until you see a result of this treatment.
- Filtering surgery also known as trabeculectomy: the surgeon creates an opening in the sclera (white of the eye) and removes a part of the trabecular meshwork.
- Drainage tubes: small tube is inserted in the eye.
- Trabectome is a minimally-invasive procedure where the doctor will remove a tissue from the trabecular meshwork to lower the eye pressure.