What are the Best Treatments for Open-Angle Glaucoma?

Alex Paul

Some of the best treatments for open-angle glaucoma include eye drops and laser treatment. Eye drops are either taken to reduce pressure or to decrease production of aqueous humor, a liquid in the eye that causes excess pressure. Although effective, tablets are seldom prescribed by doctors due to side effects. Surgery is usually only advised if a patient’s condition cannot be controlled through other means, but it can be effective at reducing pressure and preventing further loss of vision. There is, however, a greater risk of complications with surgery than other treatment.

Glaucoma causes a person to lose vision gradually.
Glaucoma causes a person to lose vision gradually.

There are many different types of open-angle glaucoma treatments. All treatments, however, have the same purpose — to reduce pressure in the eye. This can prevent further harm to the optic nerve, but will not reverse any existing damage. The treatment that’s best for a particular patient largely depends on the level of eye pressure as well as his or her current medical condition.

Laser surgery may be used to treat open-angle glaucoma.
Laser surgery may be used to treat open-angle glaucoma.

Eye drops are a common open-angle glaucoma treatment for those who have relatively low pressure. There are a number of different drops available including those that increase drainage from the eye or reduce the amount of fluid that the body produces. An eye specialist will be able to provide advice as to which drops are suitable for a patient. The choice will partly depend on the person’s health, along with any side effects that the drops can cause. Tablets, which work in a similar way, have fallen out of favor due to problematic side effects.

Laser treatment for open-angle glaucoma is often the next step if eye drops aren’t effective. The treatment works by “burning” a small hole in part of the eye to increase drainage and reduce pressure. The treatment is very quick and usually painless, although a small amount of discomfort may be felt. Another form of laser treatment for open-angle glaucoma, where parts of the body that produce the liquid in the eye are destroyed, is also sometimes used.

Surgery is often a last resort for open-angle glaucoma because it is more invasive and increases the chance of additional problems. The most common type of open-angle glaucoma surgery involves making a small hole in part of the eye to allow fluid to drain around a blockage. As with any type of surgery, there is always the risk of unforeseen consequences, and the operation sometimes needs to be repeated if it fails the first time.

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