Open-angle glaucoma; Chronic glaucoma; Closed-angle glaucoma; Congenital glaucoma; Angle closure glaucoma
The goal of treatment is to reduce eye pressure. Depending on the type of glaucoma, this is done using medications or surgery.
Open-angle glaucoma treatment:
Most people with open-angle glaucoma can be treated successfully with eye drops. Most eye drops used today have fewer side effects than those used in the past. You may need more than one type of drop. Some patients may also be treated with pills to lower pressure in the eye. Newer drops and pills are being developed that may protect the optic nerve from glaucoma damage.
Some patients will need other forms of treatment, such as a laser treatment, to help open the fluid outflow channels. This procedure is usually painless. Others may need traditional surgery to open a new outflow channel.
Angle-closure glaucoma treatment:
Acute angle-closure attack is a medical emergency. Blindness will occur in a few days if it is not treated. Drops, pills, and medicine given through a vein (by IV) are used to lower pressure. Some people also need an emergency operation, called an iridotomy. This procedure uses a laser to open a new channel in the iris. The new channel relieves pressure and prevents another attack.
Congenital glaucoma treatment:
This form of glaucoma is almost always treated with surgery to open the outflow channels of the angle. This is done while the patient is asleep and feels no pain (with anesthesia).
With good care, most patients with open-angle glaucoma can manage their condition and will not lose vision, but the condition cannot be cured. It's important to carefully follow up with your doctor.
Rapid diagnosis and treatment of an attack is key to saving your vision. Seek emergency care immediately if you have symptoms of an angle-closure attack.
Early diagnosis and treatment is important. If surgery is done early enough, many patients will have no future problems.
Call your health care provider if you have severe eye pain or a sudden loss of vision, especially loss of peripheral vision.
Call for an appointment with your health care provider if you have risk factors for glaucoma and have not been screened for the condition.
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Kwon YH, Figert JH, Kuehn MH, Alward WL. Primary open-angle glaucoma. N Engl J Med. 2009 Mar 12;360(11):1113-24.
Vass C, Hirn C, Sycha T, Findl O, Bauer P, Schmetterer L. Medical interventions for primary open angle glaucoma and ocular hypertension. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2007 Oct 17;(4):CD003167.
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