Treating Glaucoma

Dr Sanjay Sachdeva
Glaucoma is the term used to describe a number of related conditions that cause damage to the optic nerve, which transmits information from the eye to the brain. It usually (but not always) is associated with high intraocular pressure (IOP). Left untreated, glaucoma can cause blindness.
Does increased eye pressure mean that I have glaucoma?
Not necessarily. Increased eye pressure means you are at risk for glaucoma, but does not mean you have the disease. A person has glaucoma only if the optic nerve is damaged. If you have increased eye pressure but no damage to the optic nerve, you do not have glaucoma. However, you are at risk.
Who is most at risk for glaucoma?
If you’re over age 60, diabetic or have a family member with glaucoma, you are at higher risk for glaucoma than others.
What are the different types of glaucoma?
Primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG) is the most common form of glaucoma. The other types are: normal-tension, narrow-angle, closed-angle, congenital, pigmentary and secondary.
How can I prevent the disease from occurring?
early detection and treatment of glaucoma, before it causes major vision loss, is the best way to control the disease. So, if you fall into one of the high-risk groups for the disease, make sure to have your eyes examined regularly.
What are the symptoms of glaucoma?
Although acute angle-closure glaucoma may cause pain, redness, haloes, and blurred vision, most people with glaucoma do not experience any symptoms until they have lost a significant amount of vision.
How is glaucoma detected?
Glaucoma is detected through a comprehensive eye exam that includes a visual acuity test, visual field test, dilated eye exam, tonometry, and pachymetry.
What glaucoma treatments are currently available?
Doctors usually prescribe specia lglaucoma eye drops that reduce intraocular pressure. These are used one or several times a day, depending on the medication. If the drops don’t work, surgery may be the next step. In some cases, surgery might be the first option for glaucoma treatment.
What can I do to protect my vision?
If you are taking medicines for glaucoma, be sure to take them every day as directed by your eye care professional. People at risk for glaucoma should have a dilated eye exam at least every two years. If you have been diagnosed, you may need to see your eye care professional more often.
What can I do if I already have lost some vision from glaucoma?
If you have lost some sight from glaucoma, ask your eye care professional about low vision services and devices that may help you make the most of your remaining vision.
What should I do for a family member or friend who may be at risk of glaucoma?
Encourage them to have a comprehensive dilated eye exam at least once every two years. Remember — lowering eye pressure in glaucoma’s early stages slows progression of the disease and helps save vision.
If a Person Has Glaucoma, How Often Do They Need to Be Checked?
The frequency of checkups depends on the severity of one’s glaucoma. If the person is a low-risk glaucoma suspect, they may only need to be examined on an annual basis. For more severe glaucoma, examinations may need to be done monthly, or possibly even more frequently, until the glaucoma stabilizes. Once the glaucoma is stable, examinations every 3 to 4 months are usually appropriate.