How is glaucoma treated?
Glaucoma Management

How is Glaucoma Treated?

The treatment for glaucoma is generally directed toward lowering and/or stabilizing the level of pressure inside the eye. As a rule, damage caused by glaucoma cannot be reversed. Research shows that lowering the pressure within your eye may prevent further damage to your optic nerve, and consequently may prevent blind spots/blindness. In most cases of open angle glaucoma, medications are used first to try to lower the pressure followed by laser treatment and then glaucoma surgery.

Initially, medications in the form of eye drops are used to help provide this pressure control. There are several different types of medications available. These vary in their degree of effectiveness, in their dosing schedule, and in their side effects. Often, people with glaucoma must take these medicines on an ongoing basis to control the pressure and limit vision loss. Eye doctors use many medications to treat glaucoma. These drugs work to control the pressure inside the eye. The medicines are usually in the form of drops but also come in pills or ointments. They work to lower the amount of aqueous fluid produced and/or improve the flow of fluid through the drainage angle. Because glaucoma can progress without your knowledge, adjustments to your treatment may be recommended by your physician.

If treatment with eye drops is unsuccessful, then an in-office laser treatment may be used. The laser treatment is directed into the trabecular meshwork, the drain of your eye. The effects of the laser treatment develops over several weeks and generally lasts twelve to eighteen months. The response rate is between 50% to 80%.

If the pressure is not controlled by drops or laser, or in some emergency cases, your doctor may recommend glaucoma surgery. The goal with this outpatient surgery is to essentially create a new drain for the eye, which fluid can drain through, thereby reducing the pressure in the eye.

NEXT: Living with Glaucoma

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