After glaucoma surgery, there are several things patients ought to be aware of to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Our eyes are delicate organs and deserve to be treated with the utmost care and appreciation, especially after a surgical operation.
Glaucoma is a common diagnosis in the world of ophthalmology. In fact, in the United States alone, more than 3 million cases are found per year.
The condition occurs when there is a build-up of pressure against the optic nerve due to the blockage of aqueous fluid. Normally, aqueous fluid would drain at an exit point situated at the point where the cornea and iris meet.
However, when this passage is obstructed the fluid begins to push against the optic nerve, causing nerve damage and eventual permanent blindness.
While there are several treatments available for glaucoma, few come close to the lasting effect of surgery. This procedure is intended to relieve the ocular pressure by creating a separate pathway towards the conjunctiva where it is instead absorbed.
Here, we go over the benefits of glaucoma surgery. We’ll also take a look at some of the dos and don’ts you should follow post-operation. Also included in the article are some of the possible side effects and complications.
Benefits of surgery
The main benefits of a glaucoma surgery are that after glaucoma surgery, people will, hopefully, see better. With that in mind, let’s take a look at a few key benefits of going under the knife, or laser in this case, to correct glaucoma.
- Improved eyesight
- Relieves pressure in the eye(s)
- Surgery lasts for years compared to medications formulated to treat the condition
- Improved quality of life
- Surgery can be completed in a time span of just 45- 60 minutes
High success rate
One benefit in particular is the extremely high success rate of the surgery. In fact, glaucoma surgeries have around a 90 percent success rate. This is much higher than many surgical operations.
Good care is important after glaucoma surgery
As with any surgery, it is crucial that health and well-being are managed effectively. Once the procedure has successfully been carried out, individuals should take special care of not only their eyes but their entire body. Here are a few dos and don’ts to ensure the optimal results for a quick recovery after glaucoma surgery.
- Do sleep with a mask on
- Do take rests when feeling fatigued
- Do avoid unnecessary exposure to bright rooms
- Do take your vitamin C
- Do take your prescribed meds
- Don’t stare at the sun, or any bright lights for that matter. If you work in an office environment where you are required to look at the computer screen for long periods of time, be sure to take short, regular breaks.
- Don’t engage in strenuous activities
- Don’t rub your eyes too often
- Drive immediately after your surgery. Have somebody trusted pick you up instead.
Risks of complications
Once again, it is important that we reiterate the fact that the success rate of a glaucoma surgery is steadily approaching 90 percent. However, this does not mean 100 percent.
Your eye specialist will talk you through your specific situation and any possible complications prior to surgery.
You are likely to experience the benefits of better eyesight very soon after glaucoma surgery. But there is also a small chance that you’ll be greeted with some complications and side effects. These may include:
Possible side effects
- Increase light sensitivity
- Long term redness and inflammation
- Unrelenting pain (painkillers and other medications have no effect)
- Bleeding from the eyes
- Loss of vision (either suddenly or gradually)
- Seeing blurs, shadows or double vision
- Increased eye pressure
How long does it take to recover?
Many surgeries take a devastating toll on people’s daily lives. Oftentimes, post-op, people have to take time off work and generally put their lifestyles on ‘pause’.
However, the standard recovery time after glaucoma surgery is anywhere between 1-4 weeks. And patients often report a full recovery of vision within this time.
The greatest take-away from this is that you’re free to carry on your living your life as normal. So long as you follow your eye specialist’s instructions carefully.
Can I gain my vision back completely?
This is a frequent question in the ophthalmology department from those who have undergone surgery.
Unfortunately, once glaucoma has caused damage to your eyesight, complete vision cannot be restored. The purpose of using surgery to treat glaucoma is to PREVENT any further eye loss. This means that the overall result of glaucoma surgery will be reliant on the severity of the disease itself.
The importance of protective measures after glaucoma surgery
It’s likely that your eye specialist or clinic has told you to wear sunglasses after your operation. Sunglasses are very important tools for recovery after glaucoma surgery.
Wearing protective lenses means that your eyes are shielded from bright lights. This gives them time to heal and goes a long way toward preventing any possible complications. It also means that recovery may be quicker as your eyes are not having to strain or squint.
Sunglasses are not just for sunlight either. After an eye surgery you may be directed to wear protective lenses when you are likely to be exposed to any forms of bright light.
The best way to prevent serious eye surgeries is to catch any developing conditions and/or diseases early on.
Make sure that you keep up with your yearly eye checks. If you have a family history of glaucoma, your eye specialist may recommend that you check your eyes more frequently than this.
Special care is essential for taking care of yourself after glaucoma surgery. For this reason, it’s important that you choose eye specialists who are both experienced and exceptional. When it comes to care after an eye surgery, make sure you pick the team who can help you make the recovery period as smooth as possible.