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The Best Glaucoma Management Procedures for Pregnant Patients

Glaucoma was associated with old age, but this is changing today since there are increasing cases of glaucoma in women of childbearing age. The scenario has presented doctors with a big problem because glaucoma management and treatment in and around pregnancy offers a unique challenge. Notably, doctors have to balance the risk of the mother losing sight and potential harm to the fetus. Furthermore, most drugs that are used to manage glaucoma are considered as Category C drugs, and eye specialists are limited to category B medications. Nonetheless, specialists have come up with management alternatives that are safe to a mother's vision and the fetus' wellbeing. 

Argon Laser Trabeculoplasty (ALT) -- A new glaucoma management procedure that is proving effective in pregnant patients is Argon Laser Trabeculoplasty (ALT). Traditionally, doctors have struggled with keeping Intraocular Pressure (IOP) at safe levels without hypotension drugs. However, ALT has made this possible because the technique allows doctors to limit the number of safe category C medications that are required to maintain safe limits of the IOP. Patients can, therefore, go through every trimester of their pregnancy without worrying about the adverse effects of anti-glaucoma drugs. That said, eye specialists point out that ALT is far less effective in young patients than in older patients. However, given that healthy pregnancies only last nine months, ALT is still considered an excellent glaucoma management strategy for pregnant patients.

Glaucoma Surgery -- If you have a patient of childbearing age, then the patient should be open if they are planning to start a family. It is because doctors prefer to try out different procedures, including surgery, to lower intraocular pressure. It ensures that the adverse effects of glaucoma management drugs are kept at bay before pregnancy or during the first trimester. However, if the glaucoma persists and ALT cannot bring IOP to adequate levels, then glaucoma surgery should be considered. Nonetheless, the procedure has its risks because of the anesthesia used as well as the post-operative medication. Therefore, eye specialists advise doctors to delay glaucoma surgery until the second trimester to reduce exposure of anesthetic agents to the fetus.

Minimally Invasive Glaucoma Surgery -- Due to the risk of anesthetic agents to the fetus, specialists have discovered an alternative for patients that do not want to go for conventional glaucoma surgery. Minimally Invasive Glaucoma Surgery (MIGS) is a new treatment procedure that is effective in reducing IOP. The technique achieves success by enhancing the eye's internal aqueous humour drainage thereby keeping the pressure within acceptable limits. Besides, MIGS leaves behind minimal tissue trauma thus eliminating the need for anesthesia or post-operative drugs. Consequently, it ensures safety for the mother and fetus.