Glaucoma is an eye disease that slowly diminishes your sight. Glaucoma is called the silent thief of sight because it has no symptoms—it does not make your eyes red or cause pain. It is the second leading cause of blindness in the United States.
Glaucoma is hard to detect because of its lack of symptoms, which is why it is so important that people visit the eye doctor on a regular basis. Doing so will allow for testing and early prevention of glaucoma.
If you are diagnosed with glaucoma, treatment is available to save your vision. The goal of glaucoma treatment is to lower IOP (eye pressure) and stop the optic nerve damage. Several kinds of treatment are available to lower IOP. Your doctor will discuss the available options with you and help choose the treatment option that is best for your situation.
In some cases, eye drops are not the preferred treatment option for glaucoma. In these cases, the next option is laser therapy. In SLT, laser treatment is applied to the drain of your eye in order to open it up and let fluid out, lowering the eye pressure and saving your sight. SLT treatment takes only a few minutes, is performed in the office (not the operating room), is safe, and effectively lowers eye pressure in most patients. The treatment is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treating glaucoma, and is covered by essentially all insurance plans.
If glaucoma cannot be controlled by drops or laser surgery, incisional surgery may be required. A procedure called a trabeculectomy can be performed to create an alternate pathway for aqueous fluid to exit the eye.