Glaucoma Surgery at Lehigh Eye Specialists


What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is the 2nd leading cause of blindness worldwide. Approximately 3 million Americans have glaucoma.

Glaucoma is a general term used to describe a group of conditions that cause damage to the optic nerve. In most cases, the cause of damage is due to build-up of aqueous humor, the fluid in the eye. When the aqueous humor doesn’t drain properly, the addition of new fluid causes an increase in pressure in the eye. This pressure damages the optic nerve. The optic nerve is responsible for sending light messages to the brain so you can see.

How To Treat Glaucoma

How is Glaucoma Treated?

Left untreated, glaucoma can quickly lead to permanent vision loss or blindness. While there is no cure for glaucoma nor a treatment to restore vision, there are treatments designed to manage the disease. They can be used as a single treatment option or in combination to reduce the pressure in the eye and avoid damage to the optic nerve.

  • Medicine – in the form of eye drops, intraocular injection, or (rarely) oral medicines prescribed by your eye care specialist
  • Laser treatment – often used in conjunction with drops
  • Surgery – For individuals who do not respond to medicinal or laser treatments, there are 3 different types of glaucoma surgery that an eye surgeon may choose:
    • Trabeculectomy
    • Glaucoma implant surgery
    • Minimally invasive glaucoma surgeries (MIGS)
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Laser Treatments for Glaucoma

The most popular laser surgery is selective laser trabeculoplasty (SLT). During glaucoma laser surgery, a laser will be aimed at a contact lens in front of your eye. This procedure is intended to release some of the built-up fluid and relieves pressure. 

Some patients might be suffering from narrow-angle glaucoma. This is when your cornea and iris are too close together. Your eye fluids are unable to drain out of your eye because the angle drain inside the eye is restricted. 

Laser peripheral iridotomy (LPI) can fix that. Your eye doctor will use a laser to make a small hole in your iris. The tiny opening gives your eye fluid another path to drain out of, reducing your symptoms of glaucoma. 

Cyclophotocoagulation is another laser treatment option that targets the part of your eye that produces fluid. As the laser hits that part of your eye, it starts to shrink. Your eye will produce less fluid, reducing the amount of pressure you’re experiencing.


Treating Glaucoma with Surgery

Glaucoma surgery is designed to treat glaucoma; it cannot cure it or improve your sight, but it can prevent further vision loss. The procedure’s goal is to reduce the amount of fluid build-up and ease pressure in the eye. Glaucoma specialists will recommend surgery when other options have not been successful.

  • Trabeculectomy – This surgery creates a small opening in your eye for the aqueous humor to drain. It is done in a hospital and patients typically go home the same day.
  • Glaucoma implant surgery – This type of glaucoma surgery involves inserting a tiny tube in the eye, between your iris and cornea. The fluid in your eye can pass through the tube onto a plate. The plate is put on your eye’s surface and acts like a small lake in your eye. The fluid can slowly filter through the plate and get reabsorbed back into your bloodstream. 
  • Minimally invasive glaucoma surgeries (MIGS) – As its name suggests, MIGS are “minimally invasive”, using only a very tiny incision to place a device that will improve drainage. There are many types of MIGS available and many different types of stents or devices which can be used depending on the type of glaucoma a patient has. These procedures can be performed alone or in conjunction with cataract surgery.

Why Choose Lehigh Eye Specialists in Allentown?

If you’re looking for the best glaucoma specialist in Allentown and surrounding areas, look no further than Lehigh Eye Specialists. Our glaucoma specialist, Dr. Tricia Lennox Thomas, is board-certified and fellowship-trained; she specializes in the diagnosis, medical treatment, and surgical treatment of glaucoma. Dr. Thomas excels at educating her patients and creating individualized treatment plans using medications, lasers, and surgery.

If you have been referred to Lehigh Eye Specialists for glaucoma treatment, we invite you to meet Dr. Thomas prior to your appointment. Our Patient Portal page will also help you prepare for your visit.

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About Lehigh Eye Specialists

Our glaucoma specialist, Dr. Tricia Lennox Thomas, provides clients with unparalleled care. With her skill and compassion, she excels at educating her patients and giving them the most effective plan for managing the care of their eyes.

About Dr. Thomas  About Our Practice