Glaucoma Treatment

Glaucoma Treatment

What is Glaucoma

Glaucoma is an eye disease caused by excess fluid pressure in the front part of your eye, which results in damage to the Optic Nerve, which is in the back part of your eye.  Glaucoma will first cause a loss of peripheral vision, and if not properly treated with prescription eye drops or surgery, will result in complete blindness.  Most Glaucoma suspects have no symptoms; they do not feel pressure in their eyes and do not realize they are losing vision because the progression is very slow.  That is why it is important to have regularly scheduled eye exams to monitor for Glaucoma.

Who is at risk for Glaucoma?

Some people have a higher risk than normal of getting Glaucoma including people who:

  • Are over the age of 40

  • Have a family history of Glaucoma

  • Are African, Hispanic, or Asian descent

  • Are very Nearsighted (Myopia)

  • Have had trauma to one or both eyes

  • Have used steroids, oral or eye drops

  • Have Diabetes or High Blood Pressure

How is Glaucoma diagnosed

During a comprehensive eye exam, your eye doctor will check for Glaucoma.  First, your eye pressure is checked with a small puff of air in the eye.  Later, your eyes will be dilated with eye drops enabling your doctor to see your Optic Nerve.  If your doctor suspects that you may have Glaucoma based on the findings from one or both of those tests, a scan of your retina will be performed.  During this scan, the thickness of your Optic Nerve is measured and compared to other people your age with normal Optic Nerve thickness.  If your Optic nerve appears to be thinner than average, and the doctor suspects that it may be due to Glaucoma, you will be scheduled for a Visual Field test.  This non-invasive test checks all the points in your vision to see if there are any missing spots consistent with that of Glaucoma.  If your doctor determines that you do have Glaucoma from all of this testing, you will then be treated. 

What is the treatment for Glaucoma

Glaucoma is usually treated with medicated eye drops that are used daily.  The eye drops lower the pressure being put on the Optic Nerve to slow down or stop the damage. 

Other treatments include Laser surgery or Minimally Invasive Glaucoma Surgery.  Minimally Invasive Glaucoma Surgery (MIGS) procedures are small cuts or micro-incisions through the cornea that cause the least amount of trauma to the surrounding tissues. Doctors implant a tiny device to allow fluid to drain from the eye, reducing internal pressure. Some devices are implanted during cataract surgery. Cataract surgery alone lowers pressure, but the combination of both is more effective and can lower the need for medication.

If you have a Glaucoma diagnosis, you can feel confident that your Glaucoma treatment options are only going to improve in the years ahead. Although the disease is not curable, it is very manageable with the right treatment.