If you’ve been told that you need glaucoma surgery, you have a number of different surgical options to choose from. So why would you choose canaloplasty? Well, if you’re like one of my patients there are many good reasons to choose it. We’ll go over a few now.
Safety. This is probably one of your biggest concerns. If you’ve read about traditional glaucoma surgeries such as trabeculectomy, then you’re probably frightened of the many risks associated with those surgeries. It’s good to know then, that in studies comparing canaloplasty to trabeculectomy, canaloplasty had been showing to be a safer surgery, with fewer risks and fewer long term side effects.
Age. If you’re a younger patient, trabeculectomy may not be the best option for you, simply because younger patients tend to heal better than older patients. Since trabeculectomy require a non-healing bleb, that healing response works against you. Eventually the body does heal that bleb down. And if you’re younger, that means that some point during your lifetime, the bleb will fail. And you would most likely need to go on for additional glaucoma surgery. Canaloplasty does not require a bleb to work. Because there’s no bleb required, your youth does not work against you.
Active lifestyle. If you have an active lifestyle and enjoy activities such as water sports, you need to know that trabeculectomies may limit your ability to stay active. Blebs, are very fragile and certain activities such as water sports that include diving or scuba diving even snorkeling, may not be safe after trabeculectomy. Since canaloplasty does not involve the formation of a bleb, these activities are perfectly fine to continue after the eye has healed from surgery.
Myopia or nearsightedness. If you’re nearsighted, you maybe at a significantly higher risk of vision loss after trabeculectomy from either bleeding in the back of the eye or a pressure that stays too low after surgery. Both of these risks are much less likely with canaloplasty than they are with traditional trabeculectomy.
Ethnicity. Traditional bleb depended glaucoma surgeries have a high rate of failure amongst certain ethnicities such as African Americans. Because canaloplasty does not depend on a bleb to lower pressure this simply is not an issue.
DIFFICULTY WITH GLAUCOMA MEDICATIONS
Difficulty with glaucoma medications. Glaucoma medications have side effects and the cost associated with them. If you find that this side effects of your glaucoma medications are affecting your vision, your life style or are just irritating enough that you’re not using your drops as often as you should, then it may be time to consider a lower risk procedure like canaloplasty. Also, if you find that your drops are too expensive and you’re not always able to refill them on time, you may be putting your optic nerve at risk of further loss and eventual loss of vision. So inability to tolerate the cost or the side effects of your drops maybe a good reason to consider canaloplasty.
These are just some of the reasons to consider canaloplasty. If you have open angle glaucoma and have been told that you need glaucoma surgery, then canaloplasty is worth discussing with your glaucoma surgeon. Although there are some people where their only real choice is trabeculectomy, most patients with glaucoma of the open angle type are candidates for canaloplasty.