What is glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a disease of the optic nerve that can result in permanent irreversible loss of vision and complete blindness if left untreated.
What are the symptoms of glaucoma?
Often patients do not even know that they have glaucoma. In earlier stages, vision seems normal and there is no pain. In later stages, vision is lost and once gone, it will not return. In some types of acute glaucoma, pain and redness of eye can be present.
How do I know if I have glaucoma?
Through your doctor’s eye examinations as well as various tests, he or she can assess the optic nerve structure and function. Your doctor can then determine if you have glaucoma.
What are treatment options of glaucoma?
All treatment options for glaucoma are aimed at lowering the pressure inside the eye to protect the optic nerve from becoming more damaged.
Will I regain any vision or visual field loss from any of the treatments?
No. It will only protect further loss of vision.
Is glaucoma surgery right for me?
Your doctor will determine if glaucoma surgery is the better treatment specific to your situation. This depends on several different factors, such as the type of glaucoma, mechanism, progression, severity, age, other eye related diseases, vision potential, among other things.
Are there different types of glaucoma surgeries?
Yes, there are several different types of glaucoma surgeries. Dr. Dorey, Dr. Gill and the University of Alberta team are leaders in glaucoma surgical innovation in Canada. They often teach and lecture in other universities to train other glaucoma surgeons to perform or improve various techniques. As a result, they perform all of the surgical options that are currently available in Canada. Some minimally invasive glaucoma surgeries take only a few minutes to perform and healing time is quick. More conventional glaucoma surgeries take thirty to sixty minutes to perform and are indicated for more serious disease.
Can there be complications of glaucoma surgery?
Yes, as in all surgery, risk is always present. Risk of infection is 1 in 1000. Most complications are temporary and resolve within a few weeks. In minimally invasive glaucoma surgery combined with cataract surgery, surgery has no more added risk compared to cataract surgery alone. However in traditional techniques such as trabeculectomy, express minishunt, diode cyclophotocoagulation and ahmed valve, complications can occur. More common complications include pressure going too low resulting in more blurred vision (which often results in six to eight weeks after surgery) or scarring and failure of surgery to achieve intraocular pressure lowering effect. Although blindness is rare, it remains a remote possibility. Your doctor will balance out all risks and benefits of surgery for you and determine what is the best treatment route to take to maximize chance of maintaining long term vision potential.
What is chance for success for surgery?
80% if initial surgery. Lower if previous surgeries.
If I have glaucoma surgery, will I ever need eye surgery again?
Answer is sometimes yes. Disease can still progress or worsen despite having surgery. Repeat surgery is sometimes necessary.
How long does it take for my eye to heal?
Depending on type of surgery, it can take anywhere from one to twelve weeks. For the more conventional glaucoma surgeries, there can be reduction in vision, irritation, foreign body sensation, tearing and dryness for up to twelve weeks. It is common for vision to be more blurry after surgery in the first few weeks before it stabilizes. The eye pressure also often tends to fluctuate either too low or too high for several weeks after surgery before it stabilizes. Your doctor will be doing regular post operative examinations to ensure maximum outcome and success of your surgery.
How much time do I need off of work?
Between one to four weeks, depending on the type of surgery. Your doctor will let you know according to your situation.
Will I still need to use glaucoma eye drops after glaucoma surgery?
Often yes. It depends on the type of surgery and how your eye is healing after surgery.
Will one eye heal differently than the other?
Often yes. Even if one eye was successful or did not require glaucoma drops after surgery does not mean the other eye will respond the same way. Surgery healing varies with each eye and one eye having success does not predict the other eye having the same success. Sometimes one or both eyes will require long term glaucoma drops or further surgery.