About 3 million Americans suffer from glaucoma, which is a serious eye disease that can lead to permanent blindness. Most types of glaucoma occur due to fluid buildup inside the eye, which increases pressure on the ocular nerve and damages it.
While glaucoma can sometimes be managed with medication, other people require surgery to improve the way the eye drains. Today, leading ophthalmologists use lasers to open clogged drainage channels without more invasive surgery.
As a top-rated ophthalmologist in Hialeah, Florida, Rodrigo Belalcazar, MD, is skilled in advanced laser surgery for glaucoma, helping patients at Advanced Eye Center improve their eye health and prevent permanent vision loss. If laser glaucoma surgery is in your future, here’s what to expect during and after your treatment.
Even before your appointment day arrives, you can do some things to prepare for your laser surgery. First, if you wear contacts, you should switch to glasses for a few weeks prior to your treatment. On the day of your appointment, you should skip the eye makeup and moisturizers around the eye area.
Once you arrive for your appointment, we give you a sedative to help you relax. Next, we numb your eye with a local anesthetic to keep you comfortable.
The actual treatment is quick. Dr. Belalcazar focuses the laser device on your eye and administers rapid “doses” of laser energy to unclog the drainage channels, so your eye fluid can drain freely again. You may notice bright flashes of light as the energy is delivered.
If you have glaucoma in both eyes, Dr. Belalcazar may treat both eyes in one visit. Often, though, he treats each eye at different times to maximize your vision while the eye heals.
After your laser surgery, you can expect some temporary blurriness, so you’ll need to have someone on hand to drive you home. You may also have some mild discomfort. Dr. Belalcazar can provide eye drops or other medication to help.
You’ll need to avoid wearing eye makeup or using any products around your eyes until Dr. Belalcazar gives you the go-ahead. Furthermore, you’ll need to avoid strenuous exercise during the early healing period. During follow-up visits, Dr. Belalcazar will tell you when it’s OK to resume exercise.
Most patients opt to rest the day of their procedure, returning to normal activities within a day or so. Dr. Belalcazar will provide complete instructions to follow during your recovery.
One reason why glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness is because it usually causes no symptoms until vision loss starts occurring. In fact, it’s often referred to as the “silent thief of sight.”
Because it rarely causes symptoms in its early stages, having regular eye exams is the best way to catch glaucoma early so it can be treated. To learn more about how we can help you manage your glaucoma, or to schedule an eye exam to find out if you’re at risk, call 305-707-6011 or book an appointment online with Advanced Eye Center today.