Depending on the severity of the disease, treatment for glaucoma can involve the use of medications, laser surgery, or intraocular surgery. Medicated eye drops aimed at lowering intraocular pressure are usually tried first to treat glaucoma.
Because glaucoma is often painless, people may become careless about the regular use of eye drops that can decrease eye pressure and help prevent permanent eye damage. In fact, non-compliance with a program of prescribed glaucoma medication is a major risk factor that contributes to people going blind from glaucoma.
If you find that the eye drops you are using for glaucoma are uncomfortable or inconvenient, never discontinue them without first consulting your eye doctor about a possible alternative therapy. All glaucoma surgery procedures (whether laser or non-laser) are designed to accomplish one of two basic results: decrease the production of intraocular fluid or increase the outflow (drainage) of this same fluid. Occasionally, a procedure will accomplish both.
Currently the goal of glaucoma surgery and other glaucoma therapy is to reduce or stabilize intraocular pressure. When this goal is accomplished, damage to ocular structures – especially the optic nerve – may be prevented.
Early detection is key
No matter the treatment, early diagnosis is the best way to prevent vision loss from glaucoma. People at high risk for developing glaucoma due to elevated intraocular pressure, a family history of glaucoma, advanced age or an unusual optic nerve appearance may need more frequent visits to the office.