Glaucoma refers to a group of eye diseases that damage the optic nerve and cause irreversible vision loss, often without any obvious symptoms. Most commonly, loss of sight creeps up on a person, as central vision can remain strong while side or peripheral vision is eroded. Ultimately, sight can be completely and permanently lost.
Glaucoma is usually, but not always, caused by increased pressure in the eye (Intraocular Pressure) and this damages the optic nerve. The two main types of glaucoma are open-angle glaucoma, where fluid does not adequately drain from the eye due to an open drainage angle; and angle-closure glaucoma, which involves a narrow drainage angle.
At the Lions Eye Institute, our glaucoma specialists conduct thorough eye exams to detect glaucoma, often after patients have been referred by their optometrist or GP. Examinations include measuring eye pressure, inspecting the eye’s fluid drainage angle, examining and imaging the optic nerve, testing central and peripheral vision, and measuring corneal thickness.
Depending on the patient, our ophthalmologists will recommend treatments to lower intraocular pressure and help stop further damage. These include eye drops and oral medication, laser treatment, and surgery. Laser treatments are generally performed as an outpatient therapy.
Surgery might be required when glaucoma progresses despite medication and laser treatment, with the most common type of surgery called trabeculectomy and newer surgeries termed ‘minimally invasive glaucoma surgery’ (MIGS). These involve implanting a microscopic stent into the eye to help drain fluid. The XEN® gelatin stent was invented by our clinical and research teams at the Lions Eye Institute, and this device has now been implanted in more than 100,000 people around the world.
At the Lions Eye Institute, our clinicians are leaders in their fields. All sub-specialty trained, they provide our patients with the best possible care, using state-of-the-art equipment to help patients achieve a better quality of life.