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I had a trabeculectomy on my left eye 5 weeks ago. My doctor's target pressure following surgery was 8. The pressure went down to this number for a couple of weeks; it then rose to 13, and now it is hovering around 10. Would the removal of some stitches be necessary if the pressure doesn't decrease to the target goal? I am not using mitomycin C, which I understand can slow down the healing process. [ 04/13/11 ]

Thank you for your question. The simple answer to your question is yes, stitches in the trabeculectomy flap can be cut to help lower the pressurepost-operativelyin order to get closer to your target pressure. Often I leave 2 - 3 sutures in the flap and begin cutting them a couple of weeks after the surgery as needed. The stitches are not actually removed unless releasable sutures were used during the case. A laser is often used to cut the suture in the office, which releases tension on the trabeculectomy flap allowing more fluid to flow out of the flap; thislowers the pressure.

There are only a few eye doctors who use mitomycin C post-operatively to help slow the healing process; most use it during the actual surgery. This can also be accomplished using steroid eye drops such as prednisolone. I wish you the best of luck; it sounds as though you and your doctor are on the right track.

I am 22 years old and have glaucoma, but I don't know which type it is. Sometimes, I feel severe eye pain, have blurry vision and see halos around lights. My glaucoma was identified after I had cataract surgery. I continue treatment and use Latocom eye drops regularly at 9 p.m. once each day. I am a student, and find it difficult to focus or concentrate for more than 10 - 15 minutes before I start experiencing the symptoms mentioned above. What can I do? [ 04/12/11 ]

Thank you for your question. Because I have not examined your eyes or have seen the results of previous exams by your eye doctor, it is difficult for me to make a guess as to what type of glaucoma you have. Given that you are 22 years old and have had cataracts at this young age, this leads me to believe that you do not have the typical primary open-angle glaucoma. The symptoms of severe pain, blurred vision and halos can be caused by a few different things, but could possibly be due to increased pressure in the eye. This is especially true if you have "rainbow colored" halos around the lights, as this can be suggestive of angle-closure glaucoma. Given that you are taking Latocom (a combination of a beta-blocker and a prostaglandin analog), it appears that you still have some tendency to have increased pressures. I would suggest that if your symptoms can be reliably reproduced every time that you begin studying, simply make an appointment with your eye doctor to check the eye pressure. Prior to having the pressure taken, study or read for 20-30 minutes in the office (in a similar manner as to what you would do at home or in the library )so that the symptoms are reproduced for the eye doctor. He/she can then examine the eyes and determine if the pressure is elevated or if it is something more benign like dry eye syndrome. I wish you the best of luck.

My mom is 80 yrs. old. She has been treated for glaucoma since 2006 with Dorzox and Libatim. She complained about eye irritation and pain, so the Dr. advised her to use another drop, called Libroxim, as-needed. Recently, she has complained of blurry vision at times, which lasts for 5 min. and then improves. The Dr. examined her eyes and informed my mom that she needed surgery because the eye pressure is not under control. What is the risk involved in doing the surgery? If the surgery is not successful will she lose her vision entirely or will it remain stable? Is it advisable to take a calculated risk and have the surgery, or would it be prudent to go for a second opinion? Lately, my mom is complaining that she has dry mouth, a sense of uneasiness, acidity in the stomach, irritation around her eyes, and palpitations. I read that these symptoms are potential side effects of the glaucoma eye drops. Can you suggest a remedy to overcome these side effects? [ 04/11/11 ]

Thank you for your question. Unfortunately, without having examined your mother's eyes myself or seeing the results of her test, it is impossible for me to give you accurate advice in this situation. In addition, I am a bit confused by the drops. Dorzox is a combination medication thatis commonly used,but I cannot find any information on Libatim. I do not know what that is and cannot find it in my resources. The drug Libroxim is an antibiotic, and I do not know why they would prescribe that for eye problems unless they suspected an infection in the eye. It is not typically used for treatment of glaucoma. I suggest specifically discussing these medications with your eye doctor to determine why each was prescribed.

What is the risk involved in doing the surgery?

There are multiple surgeries that can be done to help lower eye pressure. The most common are trabeculectomy and a glaucoma implant/shunt. There are newer surgeries as well, and they have some additional risks. In general, the risks of the first two surgeries include, but are not limited to:

  • pain
  • bleeding
  • infection
  • loss of vision
  • loss of the eye
  • eye pressure not being low enough or being  too low (both of which might require further surgery)
  • death from anesthesia.

I suggest that you discuss the exact surgery that you are having with your eye doctor and he/she can explain the risks, benefits, and alternatives of the procedure that they have chosen for you prior to the surgery.

If the surgery is not successful will she lose her vision entirely or will it remain stable?

Unfortunately, doctors often cannot predict the course that the vision will take. They will try to establish and obtain a goal intraocular pressure. Often, if the pressure does not go low enough, it is possible to slow or stop the progression of glaucoma and vision loss; however, there are some patients who still lose vision, regardless of the doctor's efforts.

Is it advisable to take a calculated risk and have the surgery, or would it be prudent to go for a second opinion?

I think this is a question that you have to answer yourself. If you have concerns, then I think a second opinion is always a good idea. If you are comfortable with what the doctor has discussed with you and you understand the risks, benefits, and alternatives, then you do not need a second opinion. This is something that your mother and your family will have to decide.

Lately, my mom is complaining that she has dry mouth, a sense of uneasiness, acidity in the stomach, irritation around her eyes, and palpitations. I read that these symptoms are potential side effects of the glaucoma eye drops. Can you suggest a remedy to overcome these side effects?

This is something that should be discussed with the eye doctor that has prescribed the medications. It is possible that it is related to the eye drops, but it is important to know all of the medications that she is taking (not just the eye drops)so that you can identify any cross reactions. Also, given the fact that I cannot find information on the Libatim, I cannot give recommendations on the cross reaction of this particularmedication. The eye doctor that prescribed the medications can answer that question.

I have normal-tension glaucoma, but it is more advanced in my right eye. At times, my eyes will feel like they are full of fluid (but it does not feel like watery eyes) and they may bother me like that for several hours. Is this another symptom of glaucoma? [ 04/10/11 ]

Thank you for your question. Unfortunately, a feeling of the eye being “full of fluid” is not necessarily a sign of increased pressure or glaucoma. Very few patients feel anything until the pressure reaches into the 30s. If it gets that high, it is usually painful, not a feeling of fullness. The best way to determine if you are having elevated pressure during one of these episodes is to go to the eye doctor when you feel like the eye is “full of fluid.” Since these episodes last for several hours, that should give you enough time to get to the eye doctor or his/her technician to have the pressure checked. If the pressure is normal when you are feeling this sensation, it is likely something else causing this feeling and not eye pressure. If the pressure is up while you have this feeling, then you may have open-angle glaucoma and not normal-tension glaucoma. Until you have an exam while having the feeling that your eye is "full of fluid," it is impossible to guess what the pressure might be. I wish you the best of luck.

I have been suffering from narrow-angle glaucoma since I was 67 years old. I underwent 3 YAG iridotomies in December of 2005. Thereafter, I was taking Xalatan and my IOP was stable at 14 - 16 millimeters of mercury. I would like to know whether Timolet can have any adverse effects on my glaucoma compared to Xalatan. I read the side effects for each of these eye drops, but would like your input on whether or not it makes sense to change eye drops. [ 04/09/11 ]

Thank you for your question.  Without having examined your eyes or the results of your previous exams, it is difficult for me to provide an accurate recommendation.  I will assume that your doctor was happy that your pressure was between 14 and 16 and that is your target or goal intraocular pressure. 

Changing to a new medication can always put you at risk for additional adverse effects.  I do wonder why you switching from Xalatan if it has controlled your eye pressures for the last 5 - 6 years.  Typically, eye doctors do not change medications if they are working well.   If you are having trouble with side effects from the Xalatan (the most common are change in iris color, change in skin color around the eye, redness, etc.) or the medication is too expensive, then you might want to consider changing medications.  Timolet is a preparation of timolol.  Timolol (a beta-bloker) is contraindicated in patients with:

  • bronchial asthma
  • a history of bronchial asthma
  • severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • sinus bradycardia
  • second or third degree atrioventricular block
  • overt cardiac failure
  • cardiogenic shock
  • hypersensitivity to any component of this product per the timolol insert.

As you have read, there are many potential side effects of this medication.  These can include, but are not limited to shortness of breath, slowing of your heart-rate, lowering of blood pressure, dizziness, etc.  Most people tolerate timolol relatively well and it is often less expensive than Xalatan or other prostaglandin analogs.  I suggest that you discuss the change in medication with your eye doctor and determine why they have recommended that you change medications even though it appears that the Xalatan is working well for you.  Overall, as long as you do not have side effects from the Timolet and it reduces the pressure to the appropriate goal, I think using it is fine.  I have patients on both medications and most do relatively well.  I wish you the best of luck.

I am a 60-year-old woman, and last January I started getting sharp pains in my eyes. This was accompanied by tearing, soreness, blurry vision, and swollen eyelids. It felt like I had sand in my eye. Over-the-counter eye drops provide some relief. I have many mornings where it hurts to open my eyes. I went to see an ophthalmologist, and she said that I probably had an eye infection, and to use artificial tears every day. I tried this suggestion, but the condition continues. I would appreciate your input. [ 04/08/11 ]

Thank you for your question. Unfortunately, without actually examining your eyes or seeing the results of the other ophthalmologist's previous exam, it is nearly impossible for me to give you any accurate advice. The symptoms that you describe are not specific for any one disease process, so a full dilated-eye exam would be warranted to determine the cause. The symptoms could be signs of a simple viral eye infection and artificial tears would be the treatment of choice; however, if it has been more than 7-10 days and the symptoms have not improved, it is less likely to be a simple viral “pink-eye” infection. I suggest that you return to the eye doctor for a second exam and let them know that the symptoms are not fully relieved. It may be something as simple as dry eye syndrome and continued use of artificial tears might help; however, it may also be something more involved. I am sorry that I could not be more specific, but this is best answered after a full eye exam.

I am 29 years old and have had glaucoma since I was 4 years old. I have not used Xalatan for the last 16 months because I am planning a pregnancy. I am now preparing for in-vitro fertilization and I must take hormones. Can you tell me how hormones will affect on my glaucoma? [ 04/07/11 ]

Thank you for your question, and I wish you the best with your in-vitro fertilization. Unfortunately, without knowing a bit more about the names and doses of some of the medications/hormones that you will be taking, it is difficult to give you an exact answer. Clomiphene citrate (a fertility medication) is known to be associated with some mild changes in vision in some patients; however, those changes are typically reversible once the medication is stopped. In general, stopping the clomiphene is not always necessary, but doctors will continue to watch patients closely while they are taking the hormone. If you are taking other hormones for your pregnancy, I would suggest that you find the exact names and doses of these hormones from your OB/Gyn. Take these to your glaucoma specialist and they can look up any potential side effects for you. In most cases, they are likely mild and will not be contraindicated. Due to the fact that you are not taking Xalatan, I suggest that you have routine follow-up visits with your eye doctor throughout the in-vitro process and pregnancy to watch for any elevation in eye pressure. 

I am 59 years old, and was recently diagnosed with normal-tension glaucoma and early cataracts. I have also been taking 20 milligrams of Ritalin LA for 15 years, in addition to taking numerous medications for diabetes, hypertension and thyroid problems. I am hesitant to continue taking Ritalin now that I have a diagnosis of glaucoma. Could the Ritalin have caused the glaucoma and cataracts? [ 04/06/11 ]

Thank you for your question. There is evidence, based on a few case studies, indicating that Ritalin may, in fact, cause both glaucoma and cataracts. There have not been any long-term, randomized controlled trials studying this relationship; a larger study is required to obtain a definitive answer. It is possible that you have simply developed glaucoma and it has nothing to do with the use of Ritalin (especially considering the fact that you have been taking it for nearly 15 years with no other problems). For now, I recommend discussing the risks, benefits and alternatives of stopping the medication with your eye doctor, as well as with the doctor that prescribed the Ritalin, to determine the best course of action. Until there is more definitive evidence one way or another, I do not feel that I can give you a precise answer or recommendation. I wish you the best of luck.

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Disclaimer: The information provided here is a public service of the BrightFocus Foundation and should not in any way substitute for the advice of a qualified healthcare professional; it is not intended to constitute medical advice. Please consult your physician for personalized medical advice. BrightFocus Foundation does not endorse any medical product or therapy. All medications and supplements should only be taken under medical supervision. Also, although we make every effort to keep the medical information on our website updated, we cannot guarantee that the posted information reflects the most up-to-date research.

Some of the content in this section is adapted from other sources, which are clearly identified within each individual item of information.

Last Review: 04/28/13

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