Understanding Glaucoma Treatment Options

Posted on: 24 August 2015


Glaucoma is a serious condition where the pressure inside the eye is too high, which can lead to vision loss. Patients are tested for glaucoma during routine eye exams, so it is important to see your eye doctor regularly, as the outcome of treatment for glaucoma is best when it is caught early. If you have been diagnosed with glaucoma, there are several treatment options that eye doctors use to help prevent vision loss and manage the condition. The most common treatment options for glaucoma include:

Prescription Eye Drops

Eye drops designed to lower the pressure in the eye are often prescribed to glaucoma patients. It is important to administer the eye drops according to your doctor's instructions if you want to manage your condition and prevent vision loss. In order to increase the amount of medication that is absorbed by the eyes, close your eyes after putting the drops in, and gently apply pressure to the tear ducts at the inner corner of your eyes to help prevent the drops from draining. Some people may experience burning or stinging in the eyes after putting in eye drops for glaucoma, but the discomfort typically only lasts a few moments.

Oral Medication

If it is found that eye drops alone are not maintaining proper eye pressure, your eye doctor may prescribe oral medication to take along with the drops. One of the more common types of medication used to control intraocular pressure are forms of carbonic anhydrase inhibitors. Take the medication as prescribed, but watch out for common side effects, such as tingling in the fingers and toes, frequent urination, kidney stones, stomach problems, and depression. Consult your doctor if you experience severe negative side effects so your treatment plan can be reevaluated. 


Eye drops and oral medication are the first lines of defense in treating glaucoma, but if they do not properly maintain the pressure in your eye, your eye doctor may recommend surgery. Laser surgery is becoming a popular option for glaucoma; the surgery is short, painless, and can be done in a doctor's office or at an outpatient surgery center. The goal of the surgery is to modify the drainage system of the eyes, allowing fluids to drain from the eye, thus lowering eye pressure. 

If laser surgery is not successful, your eye doctor may turn to trabeculectomy, a traditional surgery to treat glaucoma. In this type of surgery, your eye doctor will cut a small flap in the white of the eyes to allow proper drainage. A trabeculectomy is typically an outpatient surgery, but you may be restricted from driving, reading, bending, and lifting heavy objects for a few weeks after the surgery.

Contact an office like Coastal Eye Care to learn more.