Glaucoma is often referred to as the silent thief of sight, and for good reason. This eye disease usually presents no symptoms in its initial stages.

So, by the time you’re experiencing symptoms, permanent vision damage may have already occurred. Glaucoma causes this vision loss by building pressure in your eye.

The pressure builds until it damages your optic nerve. Keep reading to learn more about glaucoma and what the treatment options are for it.

Common Symptoms of Glaucoma

If you have glaucoma, you may not know it. Depending on the type you have, there may not be any symptoms.

Or, if there are symptoms, they will come on fast, and you will need immediate medical attention. These rapid onset symptoms may include:

  • Reddening eyes
  • Intense eye pain
  • Tunnel vision
  • Blurred vision
  • Severe headaches
  • Halos around lights
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Sudden vision problems, particularly under low lighting 

How do You Treat Glaucoma

Glaucoma treatment aims to lower the pressure in your eyes. The name for eye pressure is intraocular pressure or IOP.

Lowering it prevents further deterioration of the optic nerve. Different treatment plans can effectively reduce intraocular pressure and save your eyesight.

But not all treatments work perfectly for everyone. Your eye doctor will create an individualized treatment plan depending on various factors. These factors include:

  • The type of glaucoma you have
  • How fast it is progressing 
  • Its severity

Glaucoma Medications

Depending on your unique situation, your eye doctor may recommend one or more of the following:

Eye Drops

The optic nerve gets damaged as a result of increased eye pressure. Medicated eye drops work by reducing your IOP.

Eye drops do one of two things. They either increase the drainage of fluid from your eyes or reduce the amount of fluid your eyes make.

Oral Medications

If eye drops don’t reduce your IOP to healthy levels, your eye doctor may prescribe oral medication. These medications are also given if you have a spike in IOP.

Oral medications are effective at reducing IOP. But they carry a greater risk of side effects than eye drops.

Glaucoma Procedures

If medications like eye drops and oral medications fail to lower your IOP, there are more serious treatments. These include a range of medical procedures that all aim to lower IOP.

Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT)

Selective laser trabeculoplasty (SLT) is a procedure that is commonly used with eye drops. It stimulates your eye’s drainage tissue to increase fluid drainage out of your eye.

Selective laser trabeculoplasty successfully lowers intraocular pressure in about 80 percent of patients. But if it doesn’t work, the other alternative is medications or surgery.

Minimally Invasive Glaucoma Surgery (MIGS)

MIGS is only used for mild to moderate primary open-angle glaucoma or POAG cases. POAG occurs when the trabecular meshwork responsible for draining fluid from the front of your eye isn’t working.

The clogged meshwork increases your IOP. MIGS procedures place small devices in your eye to boost fluid outflow, decreasing pressure on your optic nerve.

Trabeculectomy Surgery

Trabeculectomy is an option for when medications and laser surgery don’t lower your IOP. During the procedure, a tiny hole gets made in the wall of your eye.

This tiny hole is a new drainage pathway for fluid leaving your eye. Allowing the fluid to drain more efficiently means a lower IOP.

No matter what your treatment plan is, it’s critical to follow it. Glaucoma is a progressive lifelong condition that can take your eyesight if you don’t manage it properly.

Regular Eye Exams Can Save Your Vision

Although there is no cure for glaucoma, early detection and proper treatment can preserve your eyesight. Schedule an eye exam at Joshi Eye Institute in Boynton Beach, FL, to ensure you do not have glaucoma!