Glaucoma Treatment Explained

older woman inside of her house, smilingGlaucoma is an eye condition in which the fluid in the eye does not flow properly, resulting in a buildup of pressure inside the eye. As the pressure rises in the eye, optic nerves are damaged, leading to blindness. Those with a family history of the disease, or individuals with high blood pressure or high blood sugar are at higher risk for developing glaucoma.

Proper treatment for glaucoma is essential, as vision cannot be regained once it is lost. Glaucoma treatment options vary, depending on the severity and progression of the disease. Initial treatment for glaucoma begins with prescription eye drops to control the pressure in the eye. If the medications do not work, Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty may be suggested.

Glaucoma Treatment Options:

  • Eye drops — Often the first method of treatment for glaucoma, prescription eye drops may help reduce the formation of fluid in the eye or increase flow of fluid out of the eye, thus controlling the pressure inside the eye. Side effects of eye drops for glaucoma include allergy, redness, stinging, irritated eyes and blurred vision. Some prescription treatment options may also affect the heart and lungs. Before using prescription eye drops, inform your doctor of any allergies or other medications you may be taking.
  • Laser eye surgery — In cases where prescription eye drops are not effective in managing pressure in the eye, laser eye surgery may be performed to improve the flow of fluid in the eye and eliminate any fluid blockage that may exist. Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT) may be performed to open drainage holes in the eye allowing the fluid to flow more freely to reduce the high pressure and may eliminate the need for daily eye drops.

Glaucoma is one eye condition that does not present early signs or symptoms. For early detection, it is important to maintain regular eye exams. Simple tests may be performed to measure the pressure inside your eye. If glaucoma is suspected, Key-Whitman’s glaucoma specialists may use a nerve fiber analyzer to determine if there has been any damage to the optic nerves and a visual field test to measure the amount of peripheral vision loss.

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