Glaucoma

Glaucoma is known as the silent blinder. 

Glaucoma involves an increase in the fluid inside the eye to a point that pressure damages the optic nerve. It is more likely to occur after the age of 40, and the commonest type of glaucoma has no symptoms at all until the late stages of the disease when it is very difficult to stop the progression of damage to the optic nerve. If discovered and treated early, in most cases damage can be minimized and vision preserved. Testing for glaucoma is simple and painless. It involves examination of the eye and OCT scanning and visual field testing.

Mostly, treatment is by eye drops. In some types of glaucoma laser surgery can be of benefit and in advanced or difficult cases, surgery may be required. It is very important that everyone over the age of 40 has regular eye checks to screen for this disease, and if there is a family history of glaucoma then this is even more important.

Removal of a cataract often results in lowering of the pressure, and this effect can be enhanced by placing a tiny stent into the drainage channel. Research has shown a small but significant further lowering of the pressure in this case and for mild to moderate cases of glaucoma it can be a useful adjunct to the treatment and even increase the possibility of not needing to use drops any more. Naturally, ongoing monitoring is still required to make sure the pressure has been lowered enough to prevent progression of the disease.

The stents is only about one millimetre long. It is the smallest implant used in the human body. As you can imagine, inserting it requires a high power microscope and a special lens. Even then, sometimes it is just not possible to insert it fully into the canal. If this occurs, the procedure is still effective, as the canal has been opened, even if the stent has not been placed.

Medicare and your health fund can partially cover the cost of this procedure.

Dr Workman was the first surgeon to use this stent in Victoria, and it is still used by very few surgeons.

Field of Vision with moderate glaucomaField of vision with mild glaucoma

Field of vision with advanced glaucomaField of vision with moderate glaucoma

 

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