Treating Glaucoma: Diabetics in addition to maintaining their blood glucose level on a daily basis in order to keep their diabetes in check must also be on the lookout for certain other medical conditions which may arise due to their diabetic condition. One type of medical condition which diabetics may face is that of glaucoma. In fact, diabetics are 40% more likely than non-diabetics to get glaucoma. The risk of getting glaucoma will increase both with age as well as with the time in which one has diabetes. Therefore, the older an individual is and the longer they have had diabetes the more likely they are to have glaucoma.
What Is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma occurs when there is a pressure which builds up in the eye. It is this pressure which causes aqueous humor drainage to slow down which in turn causes a build up in the anterior chamber region. The pressure which is felt by the individual is what leads to the pinching of the blood vessels. Since it is these blood vessels which are responsible for carrying blood to the two important areas of the eye, the retina and optic nerve, the pinching of the blood vessels causes the blood flow to be hindered and results in gradual vision loss. The vision loss is the result of the damage to the retina and optic nerve areas.
How Is Glaucoma Treated?
The type of treatment which is prescribed for individuals suffering from glaucoma will vary depending on the severity of the glaucoma and what is in the best interest of the patient. In general, various treatment methods may include glaucoma medications, eye drops and/or surgical procedures. Since glaucoma is unable to be treated completely by restoring one’s eyesight to their pre-glaucoma perfect vision, the medical health professional will do his/her best to preserve the eyesight which exists upon diagnosis. Doctors will usually start by prescribing medications to the individual who suffers from glaucoma and if these do not work or side effects are an issue then one of two surgical procedures may be necessary.
Medications Used to Treat Glaucoma
If you suffer from the condition of glaucoma, your doctor may prescribe one of many different medications. These medications are often used to reduce pressure in the eye and/or prevent optic nerve damage. The physician will take into effect your diabetic condition so that the medications prescribed will not adversely interact with you current diabetes treatment methods. Some of the common medications prescribed to treat glaucoma include adrenergic, beta blockers, cholinergic, prostaglandin analogs, alpha agonist, carbonic anhydrase inhibitors or a combination of these medications. When considering which medications to prescribe your doctor will look at potential side effects, best treatment plans and any possibilities of interactions with current medications being taken. It may be necessary to switch medications from time to time per your doctor’s advice if the current medications are not working or produce unwanted side effects.
Surgical Procedures Used for Glaucoma Patients
In some more severe cases of glaucoma, surgery may be necessary to preserve the remainder of the patient’s eyesight. Surgery is often prescribed when medications are not working to relieve pressure in the eye. Two commonly performed surgical procedures include laser surgery and filtering microsurgery. Laser surgery will often be prescribed before filtering microsurgery.
The laser surgery procedure involves a laser making small scars in the trabecular meshwork of the eye, which is essentially the eye’s drainage system. Doing this will help the fluid to flow out of the eye. The filtering microsurgery consists of creating a drainage hole by using a surgical tool. This is recommended when laser surgery is unsuccessful in relieving pressure in the eye.