Advanced Glaucoma Surgery

What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is an eye condition which results in progressive damage to the optic nerve at the back of the eye. The most common type of glaucoma is characterised by an abnormal increase in eye pressure. The build-up of fluid or pressure in the eye can damage the optic nerve, which is responsible for transmitting visual information to the brain.  If left untreated, this can lead to permanent vision loss.

Conventional Glaucoma Treatment

Typically, eye drops that are designed to lower eye pressure and prevent progression of the disease are a first line treatment option.  Some cases of Glaucoma can be easily managed with these eye drops. However, in some cases no combination of drops can adequately control the eye pressure.  Sometimes the drops can become toxic to the eye surface, causing redness, dryness and sore eyes. Additionally, some patients may be unable to administer their own drops, or find it difficult to adhere to the strict drop schedule.

Second line treatment includes laser or invasive surgical options such as ‘Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty’, which causes chemical and biological changes to the drainage meshwork in the eye, or ‘Trabeculectomy’, which physically creates a drainage hole between the chambers of the eye.  Both procedures aim to reduce eye pressure and improve fluid drainage through the eye.

Minimally Invasive Glaucoma Surgery (MIGS)

Minimally Invasive Glaucoma Surgery, known as MIGS, is a safer, less invasive way of reducing eye pressure than standard surgical options.  A very small stent, which is a tiny device, only 1mm in length, is inserted in the drainage meshwork between the two chambers of the eye. This permanent channel ensures a constant flow of fluid between the chambers of the eye and regulates the eye pressure.

The procedure is often performed at the same time as Cataract Surgery.  The stent cannot be seen or felt in the eye. While the result differs for everyone and is dependent on the severity of their pre-existing condition, most patients can either reduce the number of eye drops or completely cease the use of eye drops to treat their Glaucoma, which is a welcome relief for these patients.