How glaucoma is treated

There is no cure for glaucoma

Glaucoma is a lifelong disease that must be continually monitored to ensure the best treatment. Currently, all types of treatment target raised eye pressure. Bringing eye pressure down stabilizes the disease and prevents (further) visual loss, but it is no cure. At a given moment, it may be necessary to change from one type of treatment to another in order to avoid aggravation of the disease.

Steps for putting in eye drops
Tilt your head backward and pull the lower eyelid down to create a pocket. Let a drop fall into that pocket while taking care that the bottle does not touch any part of the eye. If you are not sure the drop actually got in your eye, it is best to put in another one. Immediately close your eye and press on the inside corner of the eye for at least one minute to obstruct the tear duct. This maximizes the amount of drug being absorbed into the eye

Eye drops

Generally treatment is begun with eye drops. At present there are many different eye drops available that lower eye pressure. Your doctor determines which eye drop best suits you, taking into account various factors such as the amount of eye pressure increase, or general health problems. All eye drops are short acting and should be applied daily. It is best to put drops in, around the same time of day. Scheduling the drops around daily routines such as meals or bedtime helps you remember to put them in. If you are using more than one type of eye drop, it is best to wait at least 5 minutes before applying the next one. Most eye drops will only keep one month after opening the bottle.

Since most glaucoma patients need to use drops for many years, it is advisable to use preservative-free eyedrops

Laser therapy

If control of eye pressure is not achieved with eye drops, laser therapy may be recommended. The laser beam opens the fluid channels of the eye, making the drainage system work better. This therapy is painless and is performed during an outpatient visit. The length of time the eye pressure is lowered seldom exceeds 3 years.


Surgery may be advised if eye drops and laser therapy fail to decrease the eye pressure adequately. A small opening is made in the eye allowing fluid to drain out of it. Fluid is directed towards a vein so that it does not appear at the surface of the eye.
In general, surgery can carry some risks and glaucoma surgery makes no exception to this rule. In a few cases, cataracts may develop. In addition, there is a small risk of hemorrhage, infection, or loss of vision due to a temporal very low eye pressure.
Surgery may decrease eye pressure for life in some persons, whereas in others eye pressure may go up again over time. In that case, the eye doctor can again prescribe eye drops. Alternatively, surgery may be repeated, and possibly this time by use of another technique.