Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of irreversible blindness across the world and just one of the eye diseases that may develop in those with diabetes. Diabetic retinopathy can affect the eyes by damaging the retina's blood vessels, causing significant vision loss or blindness. Lasers have simplified the process of treating glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy, primarily if you address these issues early on.
What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma refers to eye diseases that damage the optic nerve and can cause blindness. The eye continuously produces an aqueous fluid, which must drain to maintain good eye pressure. With glaucoma, the eye's ability to drain fluid is blocked. There are several types of glaucoma, including open-angle glaucoma and narrow-angle glaucoma.
Open-angle glaucoma is the more common variant of this eye disease, and it is usually linked to genetics. Here, the drainage canals in the eyes are blocked, causing fluid and pressure accumulation. This pressure damages the optic nerve, resulting in gradual vision loss, often without any early warning symptoms.
In narrow-angle glaucoma, the accumulated fluid cannot drain effectively since the drainage canals are either closed off or too narrow. The result is that eye pressure rises significantly faster. The symptoms of narrow-angle glaucoma include:
- Eye Pain
- Blurred Vision
Types of Laser Treatment for Glaucoma
Laser treatment is ideal for glaucoma patients, especially when other medications like eye drops are not working or are producing adverse side effects. There are two main types of laser options available, including Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT) and Laser Peripheral Iridotomy (LPI).
Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT)
SLT is for patients with open-angle glaucoma. Importantly, SLT doesn't burn tissues but instead vaporizes the specific pigment affecting the eye drainage system cells, thus improving fluid drainage. Since SLT doesn't cause any burns, patients can get repeated treatments. SLT is up to 70% effective at reducing eye pressure by roughly 30%.
Laser Peripheral Iridotomy (LPI)
LPI is recommended for patients with narrow-angle glaucoma. It works by creating a hole in the patient's iris, widening the angle, and improving the fluid outflow. The LPI procure typically takes around ten minutes, and in most cases, the angle opens, thus preserving vision and preventing glaucoma from progressing or appearing.
What to Expect After Laser Treatment of Glaucoma
In most cases, patients will experience blurred vision after laser treatment of glaucoma. The eyes may also be a bit more light-sensitive, and there might also be a headache caused by the eyedrops applied before the laser. However, these effects should subside quickly, and your doctor will then assess your eye pressure within 30 minutes to confirm the procedure's effectiveness.
What is Diabetic Retinopathy?
Diabetic retinopathy is caused by damaged blood vessels in the retina. It is essential to get comprehensive dilated eye exams if you have diabetes to avoid developing diabetic retinopathy.
What is Laser Photocoagulation?
Laser photocoagulation defines a common intervention used for treating diabetic retinopathy. Your ophthalmologist will apply light energy to the affected retina to stop new blood vessels' growth, thus preserving vision. Here are the main types of laser photocoagulation.
- Pan-retinal treatment: This laser treatment slows down the growth of new blood vessels in the retina. Lasers are used on the retina to stop abnormal new blood vessels and typically require a few treatment sessions.
- Grid treatment: This laser treatment addresses swelling in the macula. The macula is a spot in the middle of the retina that helps you see clearly.
- Focal treatment: Your ophthalmologist will identify individual blood vessels in the retina and make a few passes with the laser to seal them effectively. This procedure seals up small areas of leakage in the retina, especially near the macula.
Expert Eye Laser Treatment in Virginia Beach
Thanks to the latest laser treatment technology and innovations, those with glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy no longer have to deal with severe eye complications. These various laser treatments are highly effective and can help you avoid partial vision loss or blindness.
Dr. Delianides and the team at Atlantic Eye Consultants can significantly improve your ocular health and vision through expert glaucoma treatment in Virginia Beach. Contact us today to book your appointment!