• Suite 6, Pietermaritzburg Eye Hospital, 5 Alon Paton Drive, Pietermaritzburg
  • Mon - Sat 8.00 - 16.30

GLAUCOMA

GLAUCOMA

Screening

Regular glaucoma screenings are recommended for people over the age of forty, especially if there is a family history of glaucoma. Screenings typically involve several tests, including tonometry to check the eye pressure; visual field testing to test sight at various areas of your vision; pachymetry to assess the thickness of the cornea; ophthalmoscopy to check for damage to the optic nerve; gonioscopy to look at the outflow angle and determine whether the iris is situated in an abnormal position; and optic nerve imaging (OCT or HRT) to check for any changes in the optic nerves over time. All of these tests are painless, and Dr Enslin Uys will let you know which tests are recommended for your particular needs.

Diagnoses

In order to diagnose glaucoma, Dr Enslin Uys places eye drops in the eyes to dilate the pupils. This will allow him to examine the back of the eyes thoroughly. During the eye examination, he will check your vision, and have a look at the optic nerve to determine if there are signs of glaucoma. Dr Enslin Uys will also conduct a particular test known as tonometry to assess the eye pressure.

There are various methods of tonometry, but in all cases, the tests are painless and relatively quick. Because there are often no symptoms of glaucoma, it is essential to have an eye examination regularly, so that any abnormalities can be detected and treated early.

Medical treatment

In some cases, prescription eye drops may be sufficient glaucoma treatment. They work by either allowing fluid to drain more efficiently out of the eye or to decrease the amount of fluid that forms in the eye. Sometimes, Dr Enslin Uys will prescribe oral glaucoma medications in addition to eye drops to treat glaucoma, which will also help to decrease pressure and reduce the production of fluid in the eyes.

There are a number of medications available for the treatment of glaucoma, and Dr Enslin Uys will recommend the best option for your particular needs, taking into account any potential side-effects you may develop, especially if you have a pre-existing systemic disease.

Surgical treatment of glaucoma

Sometimes, medication may not be sufficient, in which case Dr Enslin Uys may recommend glaucoma surgery. One of the most common procedures is laser surgery, which works by increasing the flow of fluid from the eye and preventing blockages. There are a number of laser surgeries available, including trabeculoplasty, which works by opening up the drainage area; iridotomy, which involves making an a small hole in the iris to let fluid flow via an alternative path from the back to the front of the eye; and cyclophotocoagulation, which reduces the production of fluid by applying laser to the ciliary body, a part of the middle layer of the wall of the eye, situated just behind the iris.

Microsurgery is also an option, in which case Dr Enslin Uys will create a drainage procedure called a trabeculectomy. This allows the excess fluid to drain out of the eye and get absorbed under the skin, also called the conjunctiva, of the eye. This will help to relieve pressure in the eye. Sometimes, a tube or drainage device is implanted. The latest technique is the placement of a Xen tube. The choice depends on the type of glaucoma you have and how advanced it is. Dr Enslin Uys is well qualified in helping you make the correct decision.