Understanding Your Treatment Options for Glaucoma

Understanding Your Treatment Options for Glaucoma

Understanding Your Treatment Options for Glaucoma

Understanding Your Treatment Options for Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a condition characterized by optic nerve damage. It occurs due to the buildup of fluid in the eye. The extra fluid exerts pressure on the eye (intraocular pressure), damaging the optic nerve. If not treated, the condition can cause irreversible or permanent vision loss. It is a major cause of blindness around the world. Early detection and treatment can help to save your vision.


Understanding Glaucoma


Glaucoma affects millions of worldwide. The disease usually affects both eyes but can be more severe in one eye. Patients with glaucoma in one eye have a 50% to 80% chance of also developing the disease in the other eye.

Those with open-angle glaucoma usually have one eye with severe or moderate damage, while the other is mildly affected. Treatment options, including medications, laser treatment, and surgery, can all help to slow down or prevent vision loss.

Glaucoma Treatment Options


Your eye doctor will review your medical history, assess your symptoms, and conduct an eye exam to diagnose glaucoma. Damage from glaucoma is irreversible, but treatment can help to slow down or prevent vision loss.

Treatment will depend on the type and severity of the glaucoma. Options include oral medications, prescription eye drops, laser therapy, or surgery. The doctor may recommend a combination of the various options.

Prescription Eye Drops


Most doctors will prescribe eye drops as the first treatment for glaucoma. They are most effective in the early stages of the disease. Some eye drops help to reduce eye pressure by improving fluid drainage, while others reduce the amount of fluid produced.

The doctor may prescribe more than one type of eye drops, depending on eye pressure. Options include Prostaglandins, Beta-blockers, Alpha-adrenergic agonists, Miotic agents, Rho kinase inhibitors, and Carbonic anhydrase inhibitors.

Glaucoma Oral Medications


Prescription eye drops may fail to lower intraocular pressure to the desired level. When this happens, the doctor may prescribe oral medications. The glaucoma medication is usually a carbonic anhydrase inhibitor (CAI) that helps to reduce aqueous humor secretion.

The medication can help with acute angle-closure glaucoma and chronic open-angle glaucoma. The medication may have side effects, including fingers and toes tingling, frequent urination, stomach upset, kidney stones, and depression.

Laser Therapy for Glaucoma


Eye doctors may use a laser to improve fluid drainage from the eyes. Some doctors recommend laser treatment as a first option before eye drops. This option may be better for individuals who cannot tolerate eye drops.

The doctor may also suggest laser therapy as a complementary treatment. It can take several weeks for results to become evident. The results of laser treatment vary in individuals but can last for years. The doctor may repeat some of the laser treatments over time.

Surgery for Glaucoma


Surgery can help to reduce eye pressure. The treatment is invasive but can yield faster and better results than eye drops or lasers. Surgery cannot restore lost vision but can help to slow vision loss.

Filtering surgery is when surgeons create an opening in the sclera (white of the eye) to release fluid. An eye surgeon may also insert drainage tubes to drain excess fluid, lowering eye pressure. Minimally Invasive Glaucoma Surgery (MIGS) is a less risky procedure that can lower eye pressure. Your eye doctor will help you to decide the best treatment option for your condition.

For more on understanding your treatment options for glaucoma, visit North Texas Ophthalmology Associates at our office in Wichita Falls, Texas. Call (940) 240-8400 to book an appointment today.

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