Frequently Asked Questions
What is glaucoma?
Glaucoma: A series of conditions that cause optic nerve damage. Often, the disease is associated with increased intraocular pressure (IOP). Without treatment, glaucoma causes gradual, permanent loss of sight. A healthy eye continually produces a small amount of clear fluid called aqueous humor that circulates inside the front portion of the eye and drains out. This process of fluid production, flow, and drainage is essential for maintaining normal eye pressure.
In an eye with glaucoma, either the eye is making too much fluid or the fluid does not drain properly – causing a build up of intraocular pressure (IOP). This high IOP contributes to optic nerve damage which results in vision loss starting at the periphery. Elevated IOP and optic nerve damage can be seen in multiple types of glaucoma such as primary open-angle glaucoma, angle-closure glaucoma, and refractory glaucoma. Unfortunately, there is no cure for glaucoma. Any loss of sight that occurs before diagnosis and treatment cannot be restored.
How is glaucoma diagnosed?
Early detection and treatment are key to controlling glaucoma and preventing blindness. A diagnosis of glaucoma is based on a thorough review of clinical history and examinations that may include a visual field test and an optic nerve assessment.
How is glaucoma treated?
Glaucoma treatments focus on lowering IOP either by reducing the production of fluid or by improving its outflow. Medications, in the form of eye drops, may be the first option for glaucoma management. This practice offers another therapy option called MicroPulse® Transscleral Cyclophotocoagulation (TSCPC) using the Cyclo G6™ glaucoma laser and the MP3 Probe. It is a safe, fast procedure.
MicroPulse TSCPC delivers repetitive, low-energy laser ‘micropulses’ which reduce risks associated with other destructive therapies. MicroPulse TSCPC is a noninvasive therapy that does not require any incisions or implants. It can be performed in an office setting or in the operating room, as determined by the doctor. The procedure does not cause tissue damage, therefore the doctor may repeat it as needed for glaucoma management.
What should I expect before and after the procedure?
Prior to MicroPulse TSCPC, anesthesia is used to make patients comfortable while the doctor gently moves the MP3 probe above and below the iris during surgery.
Following the procedure, patients may wear a small eye patch for the rest of the day. Most patients do not experience pain after the therapy. Any mild discomfort or redness in the eye that may be experienced typically goes away within a few days. Short term use of an anti-inflammatory medicine is often prescribed to control inflammation.
Typically, IOP decreases a few weeks after the procedure. In time, it may be determined that MicroPulse TSCPC has reduced the need for glaucoma medications*. However, it is important for glaucoma patients to maintain regular appointments with an eye care doctor for monitoring and treatment of the disease.
What is Primary Open-Angle Glaucoma (POAG)?
Glaucoma is a group of diseases that cause damage to the optic nerve and loss of vision. The most common type of glaucoma is primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG). In POAG, the fluid that normally flows through the pupil into the front of the eye cannot get through the filtration area called the trabecular meshwork (TM) to the drainage canal called Schlemm’s Canal. This causes an increase of the intraocular pressure (IOP). Typically, glaucoma is asymptomatic with no warning signs, and without proper treatment, can lead to blindness. The good news is that with regular eye exams, early detection, and treatment, vision can be preserved.
Treatment focuses on lowering IOP either by reducing the production of fluid or by improving its outflow. First line therapy can be either medication (in the form of eye drops), or trabeculoplasty. Trabeculoplasty is a procedure that uses laser energy to alter the TM to make it easier for fluid to flow out to the drainage canal to reduce IOP.
Where/who is doing this procedure?
Ophthalmologists from around the world treat glaucoma with IRIDEX laser technology. To find one near you, check our “Find a Physician” database.