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What is a chronic disease? It’s an illness or disease which lasts for longer than six months. Most people are aware of diseases such as cancer, HIV, diabetes, and a heart condition. However, not many people are aware of glaucoma. It’s the third leading cause of blindness in Australia.
The symptoms of glaucoma vary according to the location of the disease
but generally include vision loss, extreme pain, and pressure in the eye, accompanied by nausea and vomiting. As a result, glaucoma often causes blindness. Most patients with chronic glaucoma are given a standard therapy, either eye drops or eye stays. However, some patients are given a more aggressive form of treatment, known as collaborative care.
Collaborative care aims to improve the overall health
of those suffering from glaucoma so they can achieve good vision and avoid the risk of serious vision loss. This type of treatment focuses on managing the disease naturally, rather than relying on drugs. This reduces the side effects of drugs, helps avoid further eye damage, and allows people with glaucoma to maintain or get better quality eyesight. Many of these same benefits also have positive emotional benefits, allowing patients to live more productive and relaxed lives.
One common way to lower intraocular pressure (IOP) during eye relaxation
known as eye relaxation therapy (ET), is by reducing the patient’s stress levels. By monitoring intraocular pressure with a handheld instrument, called an ICP/MCP (necrosis/monocular pressure) monitor, eye care professionals can see if the pressure inside the eye is increasing or decreasing. If it is increasing, the eye care professional may recommend extra eye protection (drops), such as vision lenses, to lower the IOP.
If IOP elevates, vision loss is the likely cause.
Eye drops or prescription eye dressings can slow the rise in IOP and prevent vision loss. However, if IOP has already begun to rise, conventional eye drops will not reduce it. In these cases, laser eye surgery to stop or reduce eye pressure may be needed. The goal of this surgery is to stop IOP from rising any higher, allowing for higher intraocular pressure resolution (HIFR), the reduction of peripheral vision loss, and improved visual quality.
Another common form of glaucoma treatment
is laser peripheral iridotomy. This procedure involves the surgical removal of a wet oval window that allows fluid to drain into the eye. This is often combined with a pneumatic retinopexy to treat higher intraocular pressure, but a more effective treatment for glaucoma may be used alone. Laser peripheral iridotomy is most effective in cases where the angle-closure glaucoma type has become resistant to typical therapy. It is less invasive than open-angle glaucoma and often results in a 50% or greater success rate.