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What are the Different Ways to Treat Glaucoma?

By Meshell Powell
Updated May 17, 2024
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Glaucoma is a medical condition in which fluid in the eyes cannot drain properly. The pressure caused from this fluid buildup can lead to blindness if not treated properly. Routine eye exams can help to detect a problem before significant vision loss occurs. A variety of methods are used to treat glaucoma, including eye drops, oral medications, and surgical intervention.

Eye drops are generally the first choice to treat glaucoma once a diagnosis has been made. These medicated eye drops help to reduce the pressure in the eyes, and this can reduce symptoms such as pain and nausea, which are commonly present in patients with glaucoma. It is important to have clean hands when applying the eye drops so that infection does not occur. The dosage instructions prescribed by the doctor should be followed closely.

Sometimes eye drops are not enough to effectively treat glaucoma. In this case, oral medications are often prescribed in addition to the eye drops. The oral medications work to treat glaucoma by reducing the amount of fluid in the eyes. There are some potential negative side effects of the oral medications, such as mood swings, which should be discussed with the doctor if they surface.

If the above methods have not been able to adequately treat glaucoma symptoms, laser surgery may be an appropriate option for some patients. The patient is typically awake for this type of procedure. A local anesthetic is used to numb the eye, and a laser is used to clear any blockages that prevent fluid from draining properly. Once the fluid is able to drain, pressure on the eye is often reduced.

Conventional surgical techniques may be used to treat glaucoma if laser surgery is deemed to be inappropriate for a particular patient. In this type of procedure, several small cuts are made into the eye in an effort to relieve pressure. There is a greater risk of infection from this type of surgery, so it is important to closely follow the doctor's instructions following the procedure.

Some cases of glaucoma do not respond well to any of the aforementioned treatment options. In these cases, drainage implants may be an effective way to treat glaucoma. These devices are surgically implanted into the affected eye to promote drainage and reduce pressure. This procedure is not right for everyone, so it is important to discuss all possible treatment options with the doctor to find the most appropriate treatment for each individual situation.

WiseGEEK is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

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