How to Treat Glaucoma
You’ve recently been diagnosed with glaucoma or are at high risk for glaucoma, and your doctor has recommended you begin a treatment plan. For those of you wondering, “What does glaucoma treatment consist of?” you’ve come to the right place. Although glaucoma cannot be cured, a comprehensive treatment plan can reduce and prevent further damage to the eye.
Glaucoma treatment aims to reduce pressure inside the eye, known as intraocular pressure. When intraocular pressure increases, the nerves in the back of the eye can become damaged and you could experience a loss in vision. To properly diagnose the stage of your condition, a doctor will examine each eye separately and tailor a treatment plan for your unique needs.
Treatment usually starts with eye drops. The various strengths and types of medicated eye drops each come with their own side effects, which your doctor will discuss with you. It is very important to use the drops exactly as your doctor prescribes to avoid unnecessary damage to the eye. Eye drops are normally applied between one and three times a day and must be used regularly without fail to receive the maximum treatment benefit.
The second step for glaucoma treatment, or perhaps in addition to eye drops, is a laser procedure known as argon laser trabeculoplasty, or simply ALT. During ALT, a laser directed into the drainage angle of the eye, effectively pulling fluid from the eye and reducing pressure. While ALT can be extremely effective for most patients, those with inflammatory glaucoma are typically not recommended for the treatment. However, if your doctor is able to confirm your candidacy for the laser treatment, insurance will usually cover ALT.
For advanced cases of glaucoma, your doctor may recommend surgery to lower the pressure. The major procedures we recommend are trabeculectomy and tube shunts. Our glaucoma specialist, Dr. Parul Khator, can discuss these with you in detail when you make an appointment at www.GAEyePartners.com.
And remember, the best approach to health is a proactive one. Routine eye screenings should be mandatory for the following groups, as glaucoma usually presents no symptoms:
- 20-29 year olds of African descent or with a family history of glaucoma should be screened every three to five years.
- 30-39 year olds of African descent or with a family history of glaucoma should be screened every two to four years.
- 40-64 year olds should be screened every two to four years.
- 65 years and older should be screened every or every other year.