Date: August 25, 2011
Topic: Glaucoma Treatments
Dr. Guy Eakin, Vice President of Scientific Affairs at the BrightFocus Foundation, talks about the common treatments for glaucoma, which includes eye drops and filtration surgery. This information is designed for anyone who has glaucoma or is caring for a family member or friend who has this eye disease.
Glaucoma Audio Files
Dr. Guy Eakin: Today I'm talking about glaucoma, the leading cause of irreversible vision loss and ultimately blindness. In this segment, I'd like to talk about medical treatments for glaucoma. The first line of treatment for most cases of glaucoma, except emergency situations, is medication.
Eye drops are frequently prescribed, because they tend to have fewer side effects than pills. Make sure your doctor is aware of any medical conditions you may have, as well as any other medications, such as vitamins or supplements that you are taking. Your eye doctor will determine the best treatment for you based on your unique situation. It's important to remember that eye drops are medications, so be sure to let your regular doctor know that you're taking prescription eye drops. To be effective, glaucoma medications must be used consistently and exactly as prescribed by your doctor. If you have trouble remembering to use your eye drops, consider setting an alarm on your clock or your cell phone as a reminder. Have your doctor show you how to correctly administer the eye drops. Remember, consistent and correct usage of these drops is the best bet for saving your vision. If medications are not effective, the next option is typically surgery. For some patients, surgery may actually be the best first choice and for others a combination of medication and surgery may be the most successful.
Two exceptions to the medication first rule are infants with congenital glaucoma, who most always require surgery, and cases of acute closed-angle glaucoma, which generally require immediate surgical treatment.
Last Review: 08/30/13