How We Can Help
Glaucoma Treatment Information
We provide a variety of treatment options for glaucoma depending on the stage of your disease and your specific needs. Options include:
- Medicine. A variety of medicines are available, in eye drop or pill form, to manage glaucoma. These drugs lower the pressure in your eyes by either reducing the amount of fluid they produce or helping the fluid to drain. Eye drops are the most common treatment for glaucoma. In many cases this is the only therapy you will need, although you might require more than one type of drop. Many kinds of eye drops must be taken two or more times per day. If eye drops alone do not control high eye pressure, we also prescribe pills, such as carbonic anhydrase inhibitors. We use oral medicines less often than drops because they can cause side effects such as numbness in the hands and feet, nausea and frequent urination. Because high eye pressure does not usually cause symptoms, it is easy to forget to take your eye drops or pills. No matter what drug therapy you and your doctor choose, it is important to take your medicine as prescribed.
- Laser trabeculoplasty. This outpatient procedure uses a laser to alter the eye’s drainage system and help fluid to flow more efficiently. You are awake during this painless treatment and might see flashes of bright red or green light. Laser trabeculoplasty typically takes between 10 and 15 minutes. You can go back to normal activities soon after the procedure, but you may need eye drops to control soreness or inflammation as you heal. You may need to continue taking your regular glaucoma medicine indefinitely after surgery. We generally treat only one eye at a time with laser trabeculoplasty. If you have glaucoma in both eyes, we schedule a second procedure for a few days or weeks later. You might need a repeat procedure or other treatment after a few years because the effects of laser trabeculoplasty sometimes diminish with time.
- Conventional surgery. Glaucoma filtration surgery is a common procedure for both open-angle and angle-closure glaucoma. We may recommend this surgery when other treatment methods have not worked. In this operation, we cut a tiny flap into the white part of the eye (sclera). We then make a reservoir (filtration bleb) into which fluid can drain. Finally, we close the incision with stiches. You are likely to be awake during this outpatient operation, but you will receive local anesthetic so that you do not feel pain. You can usually go home soon after the hour-long procedure. However, you need to avoid certain activities, such as heavy lifting, for two or more weeks after glaucoma filtration surgery. You will wear a patch to protect your eye for one day after the procedure. You also need to use eye drops for a few weeks to control inflammation and prevent infection. Your vision may be blurry for several days after the operation. If you need surgery in both eyes, we schedule a second procedure for a few weeks after the first procedure.
- Aqueous shunt surgery. This procedure is another conventional operation for glaucoma. It involves placing a device known as a shunt or implant to allow the aqueous fluid to drain properly. This approach is often useful when the eye has scar tissue from previous operations. Surgery takes one to two hours, and you can typically go home the same day. We see you the next morning to check the results and examine you several more times over the following six weeks. You will likely also receive topical antibiotics and steroids during these weeks.
Glaucoma Locations & Physicians
Use the search options below to find treatments available in your area.
Find a Specialist
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Glaucoma Support Services
More information on glaucoma is available from these organizations:
A Sampling of Glaucoma Support Services
The American Academy of Ophthalmology provides patient-friendly explanations of glaucoma and many other eye health topics.
Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute
This institute enables you to search for Indiana clinical research studies in which you or a family member might be able to participate.
National Eye Institute
This federal agency offers information on eye disorders and eye anatomy.