There are three primary kinds of glaucoma, and several types of glaucoma that are much less common. Most can be successfully treated with eye drops, laser treatment, prescription medications or a combination of all of these.
Open Angle Glaucoma
Open angle glaucoma (also called chronic glaucoma) is the most common kind of glaucoma in the United States. There are a number of risk factors for open angle glaucoma, which include hypertension, diabetes, family history, race and age. Treatment commonly include eye drops, but treatment may also include specialized glaucoma laser surgery. Usually patients with open angle glaucoma have no symptoms, and the condition is generally painless.
Narrow Angle Glaucoma
Narrow Angle Glaucoma (also called “narrow angle glaucoma” and “closure glaucoma”) is fairly uncommon in the United States, but is prevalent in Asian countries. Patients with narrow angle glaucoma often have some symptoms including eye pain, halos around lights, nausea, and headache. Treatment for this kind of glaucoma usually includes lasers.
Angle Recession Glaucoma
Angle Recession Glaucoma is usually brought on by major blunt trauma. Most patients will experience no symptoms.
There are multiple ways we treat glaucoma.
Treatment for glaucoma usually focuses on monitoring eye pressure and measuring changes in the patient’s ability to see peripherally.
Glaucoma is usually considered controlled if the affected eye’s pressure is at an acceptable level and there is little or no loss of peripheral visual field.
Although there are many risk factors for developing glaucoma, and in many cases glaucoma can be prevented, the mainstay of therapy is to control intraocular pressure.
Glaucoma Eye Drops & Medication
Glaucoma eye drops are often an effective treatment
The first line of defense in glaucoma treatment is usually topical eye drops. These glaucoma drops are usually taken on a daily basis and are effective in controlling eye pressure.
Laser Sugery for Glaucoma
Glaucoma laser surgery is an effective treatment.
- Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT) has high success rates in decreasing pressure in the eye for open angle glaucoma. This treatment, if successful, can replace topical drops and can be repeated if necessary.
- Another laser surgery, Laser Iridotomy, is usually used to treat narrow angle glaucoma. Laser Iridotomy surgery creates a tiny hole in the iris to allow an alternate channel for fluid that is inside the eye (“intraocular fluid”, or “aqueous humor”) to drain from the eye.
Non-Laser Glaucoma Surgery
- Trabeculectomy surgery is one of the most commonly performed non-laser glaucoma surgeries . Trabeculectomy involves directing intraocular fluid to outside the eye, which increases the absorption of the fluid. Trabeculectomy surgery is often undertaken when glaucoma medications fail.
- Seton or shunt placement for glaucoma also involves the creation of an alternate pathway for intraocular fluid be absorbed outside the eye. It, too, is not a first line of treatment and may be reserved for very difficult situations.