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Bascom Palmer Eye Institute

Glaucoma Treatment

Both medical and surgical glaucoma treatment decrease intraocular pressure for the purpose of slowing or halting optic nerve damage.. Different types of glaucoma require different therapies to prevent further damage to the eye’s structures. At the beginning of treatment, the doctor will generally recommend medication or a combination of medications for the specific condition. Therapies may include:

  • Eye drops (or a combination of eye drops and pills) to reduce intraocular pressure. Several different classes of glaucoma medications are available to provide pressure reduction including beta blockers, prostaglandin analogues, alpha adrenergic agonists, miotic, epinephrine compounds, and oral and topical carbonic anhydrase inhibitors. These medications work by either reducing the rate at which fluid in the eye is produced or increasing the outflow of fluid from the eye.
  • Laser treatment to open the drainage angle (laser peripheral iridotomy)
  • Laser treatment to improve drainage and reduce intraocular pressure (laser trabeculoplasty).
  • Surgery to create a new passage for fluid drainage. Surgery is usually reserved for cases that cannot be controlled by medication and after appropriate laser treatment.

Regular diagnostic examinations by an ophthalmologist are the key to preventing loss of vision due to glaucoma. Ophthalmologists are medical doctors, specialists in eye care and trained to examine and treat eye diseases. Although there is no way to reverse damage, if glaucoma is diagnosed and treated early, blindness almost always is preventable.