Woman Putting in Eye Drops for Glaucoma

Glaucoma treatment (for any form) entails decreasing aqueous humor production, increasing fluid drainage, or a combination of the two. These treatments will not restore any vision already lost to glaucoma but will aid in preventing or slowing future vision loss.

Generally, the first stage of glaucoma treatment is the application of intraocular pressure (IOP)-lowering eye drops, which will lower fluid production in the eye. There are many different categories of IOP-lowering eye drops; some can be used as little as once per day. Many patients can be treated by using only one eye drop medication, though some may need to use several types to achieve lower eye pressures.

When glaucoma medications fail to lower IOP, and there is continuing visual field loss, patients may opt for laser treatment to improve the drainage of the aqueous from the eye. This short in-office procedure may be performed several times in each eye to achieve the results needed.

If medication and laser treatment do not obtain the desired results, your eye doctor may elect to perform a surgical procedure to halt the progression of vision loss. One popular type, known as a trabeculectomy, creates a small extra drainage system to alleviate the pressure of the eye. Another less common option is the placement of a synthetic valve in which the surgeon implants a device about the size of the tip of a pen (called an i-Stent) in the eye to improve fluid drainage (see video below which describes the procedure). Both of these procedures are performed in an outpatient surgical setting.

The best way to prevent vision loss from glaucoma is early diagnosis and treatment. A yearly exam is recommended to detect any potential risk of glaucoma development.

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