Of the five major risk factors for the progression of glaucoma, only intraocular eye pressure (IOP) can be controlled. All treatment regimens are geared toward lowering IOP as much as needed to help prevent vision loss from glaucoma.
Eye drops are the mainstay treatment for open angle glaucoma. Eye drops used on a daily basis can be a very safe and effective way to lower eye pressure. In cases of angle closure glaucoma, when the pressure is extremely high, drops are used initially to help lower pressure but laser treatment is needed emergently and is considered the definitive treatment for angle closure glaucoma.
When eye drops are not lowering the eye pressure enough, the next step in the treatment of open angle glaucoma is the use of laser. Low powered laser can be applied to the trabecular meshwork (the outflow valve of the eye) to open it up and allow the aqueous fluid of the eye exit more easily. This effect results in lower pressure. For patients with angle closure glaucoma, fluid is trapped behind the iris causing a sharp and dangerous rise in IOP. Laser is the definitive treatment and is used to create a small hole in the iris providing an alternative route for aqueous fluid to flow.
For open angle glaucoma patients who fail drop and laser therapy, surgery is the next option for lower eye pressure. There are numerous techniques but they all accomplish the same thing – provide an alternate exit route for aqueous fluid allowing for eye pressure to lower.
If you suspect you may have glaucoma, seek the consult of a physician immediately by calling us at 303-320-1777 or book your appointment on our website. If your family has a history of glaucoma, please schedule regular check-ups.