Managing and Treating Glaucoma

January 18, 2021


Glaucoma is a fairly common and well-known eye condition that occurs when rising pressure inside the eyes causes irreparable damage to the optic nerve, which is responsible for sending messages between our eyes and brain. There are numerous things that are thought to contribute towards the development of glaucoma, although many people never discover why they are affected. In most cases, glaucoma develops slowly and over a period of years, although there is a specific type of glaucoma that appears suddenly. Whichever type you are diagnosed with, prompt treatment is essential if you are to avoid permanent vision loss.

 

Here’s what you need to know about some of the treatments that may be recommended to you to help manage and treat your glaucoma.

 

Prescription Eyedrops

 

There are many different types of prescription eyedrops that can be used to treat a range of eye conditions, including glaucoma. As their name suggests, these are a topical solution that are placed into the eyes, and it is essential that you administer them exactly as directed. Eyedrops usually aren’t painful and can be convenient to carry with you if your instructions recommend that they are used during the course of the day.

 

Some of the prescription eyedrops recommended for the management and treatment of glaucoma include:

 

Prostaglandins

 

These work by increasing the drainage of fluid from the eyes, which in turn lowers the pressure inside them. Most prostaglandin eyedrops reduce pressure by between 25 and 30%.  

 

Beta Blockers

 

Most people equate beta blockers to heart conditions. While they do work to slow down the heart, they can also be used in eyedrops to help treat glaucoma. They do this by blocking specific nerve endings in the part of the eye that produces the eye fluid, causing the level of fluid and therefore the pressure in your eye to be reduced.

 

Alpha-Adrenergic Agonists

 

These eyedrops help to reduce the production of eye fluid, as well as increasing the drainage of fluid from the eye. In combination, this helps to lower intraocular pressure.


Oral Medications

 

If eyedrops alone are not providing you with sufficient relief from high levels of intraocular pressure, your eye doctor will need to look at providing you with alternative treatment. You may be recommended to try carbonic anhydrase inhibitors (CAI’s). These are available as both eyedrops and oral medications and are used to treat a number of issues, including gout and seizure disorders. CAI’s help to stop your eyes from producing too much fluid, preventing a rise in intraocular pressure that could damage your optic nerve and cause glaucoma.

 

Whether taken as eyedrops or as oral medication, it is crucial that you take CAI’s exactly as directed by your eye doctor.

 

Surgical Treatments for Glaucoma

 

Where eyedrops and oral medications are not effective at reducing your intraocular pressure, it may be necessary for you to undergo surgery to control your glaucoma. There are various surgical options available. These include:

 

Laser therapy

 

Cutting edge laser technology can be used to help treat both types of glaucoma. In the case of closed-angle glaucoma, where it is important to lower eye pressure as quickly as possible, you may be referred directly for laser treatment. In laser therapy for glaucoma, the laser is used to open up the fluid channels of the eye so that the fluid can drain more quickly and effectively. Alternatively, the laser can be used to create a small hole in the iris to help fluid leave the eye more easily.

 

Trabulectomy

 

A trabulectomy is a surgical procedure for glaucoma in which a tiny piece of trabecular meshwork is removed from the eye in order to increase the rate at which the fluid can leave the eye. Trabulectomy surgery is very safe and effective and usually yields long-lasting results.

 

Electrocautery

 

This procedure involves using carefully controlled heat which is applied to the tissues of the drainage system of the eyes to remove them, ensuring that fluid can leave the eyes more easily.


 

If you would like to find out more about any of the treatment methods listed here, or to schedule an appointment for a consultation, please get in touch with our team in Midtown East, New York, NY at (212) 650-4888.

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