Eye drops, laser procedures and surgical operations are used to prevent or slow further damage from occurring. With any type of glaucoma, periodic examinations are very important to prevent vision loss. Because glaucoma can worsen without your being aware of it, your doctor may need to change your treatment over time.
Glaucoma Treatment Overview
Glaucoma Eye Drops
Glaucoma is often controlled with eye drops. These medications decrease eye pressure outflow by slowing the production of aqueous fluids within the eye. For these medications to work, you must take them regularly and continuously. It is also important to tell all of your health care providers about the eye medications you are using. Glaucoma medications can have side effects. You should notify your eye care specialist immediately if you think you may be experiencing side effects. Some eye drops may cause:
- A stinging sensation
- Red eyes
- Changes in pulse and heartbeat
- Changes in energy level
- Changes in breathing (especially with asthma or emphysema)
- Blurred vision
Glaucoma Laser Surgery
Laser surgery treatments may be effective for different types of glaucoma. The laser is usually used in one of two ways. In open-angle glaucoma, the drain itself is treated. The laser is used to modify the drain (trabeculoplasty) to help control eye pressure. In angle-closure glaucoma, the laser creates a hole in the iris (iridotomy) to improve the flow of aqueous fluid to the drain.
Glaucoma Filtration Surgery
When filtration surgery is needed to control glaucoma, miniature instruments are used to create a new drainage channel for the aqueous fluid to leave the eye (trabeculectomy), which helps relieve pressure on the optic nerve. Though serious complications of modern glaucoma surgery are rare, they can occur, as with any surgery. Surgery is recommended if your doctor feels that it is safer to operate than to allow optic nerve damage to continue.
Visit the American Academy of Opthalmology’s webpage on Glaucoma Treatment.