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Open Angle Glaucoma Treatment

Treatments include medicines, laser trabeculoplasty, conventional surgery, or a combination of any of these. These treatments are intended to prevent further damage to the optic nerve but do not improve damage that has already occurred.

 

  • Medication:

 

Medicines are in the form of drops, and occasionally pills.  These treatments are long-term and usually must be continued indefinitely.

 

It is important to tell your ophthalmologist about other medicines, including supplements, that you take.  Sometimes the drops, or pills, can interfere with the way other medicines work. It is also important to disclose any medical conditions that you may have to avoid adverse interactions.

 

Side effects are usually specific to the medication being used. Superficial symptoms may include stinging, burning, and redness in the eyes.  More significant complications can occur if a person has breathing issues, like asthma or congestive pulmonary disease.

 

  • Laser:

 

Laser trabeculoplasty helps fluid drain out of the eye. While it can be very effective, laser does not always deliver the same effect in each patient, or in both eyes of the same patient. Also, laser may partially lower the pressure, but continued use of medication may be necessary.

  • Surgery:

 

Surgery is designed to create fluid flow from inside the eye to outside the eye. There are many techniques in use today, each with relative advantage and drawbacks. While "filtration" - flow from inside to outside - is the objective, this needs to be titrated to the particular person's needs and lifestyle.

Low Tension Glaucoma: 

 

This variation of glaucoma is treated in the same way as the more common open angle glaucoma, but because the pressure is not high to start, the urgency and measures needed to lower the pressure are greater. 

Why would I not get treated for narrow angles?

There really is no good reason not to be treated for narrow angles if your ophthalmologist detects the risk of narrow angle glaucoma. It is a safe procedure that spares the person a potential emergency. Of course, it is alarming to a person with no symptoms to be told that they need a laser, but if you are confident in your ophthalmologist, it is wise to proceed. 

© 2021 by Robert Friedman.