Although open-angle glaucoma cannot be cured, it can usually be controlled. While treatments may save remaining vision, they do not improve sight already lost from glaucoma.
The most common treatments for glaucoma are medication and surgery.
Medications for glaucoma may be either in the form of eye drops or pills. Some drugs reduce pressure by slowing the flow of fluid into the eye. Others help to improve fluid drainage.
(Watch the video to learn more about coping with glaucoma. To enlarge the video, click the brackets in the lower right-hand corner. To reduce the video, press the Escape (Esc) button on your keyboard.)
For most people with glaucoma, regular use of medications will control the increased fluid pressure. But, these drugs may stop working over time. Or, they may cause side effects. If a problem occurs, the eye care professional may select other drugs, change the dose, or suggest other ways to deal with the problem.
Laser surgery is another treatment for glaucoma. During laser surgery, a strong beam of light is focused on the part of the anterior chamber where the fluid leaves the eye. This results in a series of small changes that makes it easier for fluid to exit the eye. Over time, the effect of laser surgery may wear off. Patients who have this form of surgery may need to keep taking glaucoma drugs.
Researching Causes and Treatments
Through studies in the laboratory and with patients, NEI is seeking better ways to detect, treat, and prevent vision loss in people with glaucoma. For example, researchers have discovered genes that could help explain how glaucoma damages the eye.
NEI also is supporting studies to learn more about who is likely to get glaucoma, when to treat people who have increased eye pressure, and which treatment to use first.