Glaucoma is a common eye condition that affects the optic nerve and can lead to vision loss. Today, glaucoma is recognized as being the second leading cause of blindness in the world, and it affects over three million people in the U.S. You can develop glaucoma at any age, but you are at higher risk if you are over the age of 60, have diabetes or a family history of the condition. Receiving a diagnosis of glaucoma early helps you to take advantage of treatments that can help preserve your vision, and Brooklyn, NY ophthalmology centers tend to offer these options for improving the pressure in your eye.
Try Prescription Eye Drops
Most people start out treating their glaucoma with prescription eye drops that are designed to reduce pressure by helping the fluid drain better from your eye or by decreasing how much fluid your eye makes in the first place. There are several types of prescription eye drops that your doctor might prescribe, and they include the following:
- beta blockers
- alpha-adrogenic agonists
- miotic agents
Switch to Oral Medications
For some people, prescription eye drops just don’t do the trick. In this case, you might need to take oral medications to improve your eye pressure. Typically, doctors prescribe a medication that is meant to reduce the production of fluid in your eye. Since this enters your bloodstream, you might experience symptoms that aren’t related to your vision, such as frequent urination or nausea. Remember to take your medication as directed, and reach out to your eye doctor if you notice new or unusual symptoms.
Explore Your Options for Surgery
After you’ve tried prescription medications, you might find that your eyes still need further care to preserve your vision. Surgical procedures for glaucoma are safer than ever before, and your eye specialist can use new technology to give you the best chance of having a positive outcome.
Laser surgery is the most common type of surgical procedure that is used for glaucoma treatment today. During a trabeculectomy, your surgeon will create a small opening in the top of your eye where it is not visible to others. The opening provides a safe and comfortable place for the fluid in your eye to drain, which has the effect of helping to lower your eye pressure.
Certain types of glaucoma respond better to surgical procedures that allow the vision specialist to implant a special shunt into the eye. You might benefit from this surgery if you have congenital or neovascular glaucoma. This type of surgery is typically done on an outpatient basis, but you’ll likely need someone to help you get home.
Minimally Invasive Glaucoma Surgery (MIGS)
People with mild glaucoma typically benefit from using the least-invasive surgical treatment possible. There are several different types of MIG procedures that may include using lasers to reduce the risks that are involved with incision-based surgeries. Your eye care specialist can help you to identify which procedure works best for your situation.
Glaucoma often has no symptoms in the early stages, which is why regular dilated eye exams are important, especially as you age. If you have glaucoma, then make sure to monitor your symptoms. If they don’t respond to prescription medications or seem to be getting worse, then working with a specialist can help you take advantage of early treatments that lower your risk of long-term eye damage.