What Are Your Treatment Options For Glaucoma?

When you're first diagnosed with glaucoma, it's normal to be confused. In its early stages, this disease has few to no symptoms. You can probably see just fine and you don't have any pain, so the idea that you actually have something wrong with your eyes may seem mystifying -- and you may be tempted not to bother to seek treatment. But the thing about glaucoma is that while it starts off symptom-less, it eventually leads to progressive vision loss. Before your eyesight begins to suffer, it's important to discuss your treatment options with your eye doctor. The treatments suggested to you may include:

Prostaglandin Medications

Prostaglandin medications work by increasing the amount of fluid that drains out of the eye. This helps lower high eye pressure -- the primary problem caused by glaucoma. Usually, prostaglandin medications are administered as eye drops. Common examples include latanoprost and bimatoprost. Most patients tolerate these medications well, but some do experience side effects like excessive eyelash growth and change in eye color.

Beta Blockers

Beta blocker medications are often prescribed to patients who cannot take prostaglandins and to those who suffer from high blood pressure in addition to glaucoma. These medications work by reducing the amount of fluid that the eye produces. Sometimes, they may be taken orally, and other times they're administered as eye drops. Common examples include betaxolol and timolol. Some patients do experience side effects like headaches and confusion when taking beta blockers. Switching to a different beta blocker may help alleviate these side effects -- but you should only do this under the guidance of your doctor.

Laser Surgery

If the medications above do not slow your glaucoma progression to your eye doctor's satisfaction, he or she may recommend that you undergo surgery to preserve your vision. These days, most all glaucoma surgeries are laser-based. The most common procedure involves making a slit to expand the eye's drainage system, allowing it to drain more completely, and as a result, lowering eye pressure. Another type of procedure involves making an opening in the iris of the eye. Fluid will be able to drain out through this hole, lowering eye pressure. Which procedure is best for you will depend on the severity of your glaucoma and your individual eye anatomy.

Even if you're not showing any symptoms, it' important to follow your eye doctor's treatment recommendations if you've been diagnosed with glaucoma. Treatment is most effective when begun before you start losing your vision.

For more information and options, talk with an optometrist in your area, such as those at Wheatlyn Eyecare.