How is Glaucoma Treated?
Medical therapy with eye drops is the primary method of treating glaucoma. The goal of all eye drops is to lower the pressure within the eye. They achieve this by either reducing the amount of fluid produced within the eye or increasing the amount of fluid drained from the eye.
There are four traditional classes of glaucoma medications: beta blocker, alpha agonists, carbonic anhydrase inhibitors, and prostaglandins. These classes are available as single eye drops or as combination eye drops which combine multiple classes.
For the first time in the twenty-first century, new glaucoma medications are being introduced to the market in the United States. These novel treatments have been offered at our practice since 2017.
Glaucoma eye drops are typically well tolerated and do not cause severe side effects as oral medications. When eye drops are not able to be used, a different eye drop can be used instead, or a procedure can be performed to help lower intraocular pressure.
Laser surgery includes laser iridotomy (for narrow-angle glaucoma) and laser trabeculoplasty (for open-angle glaucoma). A laser iridotomy is sometimes required when side effects are severe and need to be addressed immediately, or if the pressure cannot be lowered to the proper level by medication. Laser trabeculoplasty is used to improve drainage of fluid from the eye and may be an excellent option for some patients.
Surgical intervention may be recommended when medications or laser do not provide adequate intraocular pressure control. Surgical interventions are quite variable, and with constantly advancing techniques, can be catered to each patient to ensure the best outcome. Whether you are treated with surgery or with medication, a diagnosis of glaucoma will require regular check-ups to ensure your eyes stay as healthy as possible.