When is the Right Time for Glaucoma Treatment?

When is the Right Time for Glaucoma Treatment?

When is the Right Time for Glaucoma Treatment?

When is the Right Time for Glaucoma Treatment?

Around 3 million people in the United States suffer from glaucoma – an eye condition caused by excessive pressure building inside the eyes. The second leading cause of blindness worldwide, glaucoma usually causes little to no symptoms to appear, and instead, the condition is normally detected at routine eye exams.

Unfortunately, any vision that’s been lost as a result of glaucoma is permanent, and for this reason, early identification and treatment of the disease are essential. 


When Should Treatment for Glaucoma Begin?

Many people think that if they receive a diagnosis of glaucoma, they will need to start treatment right away. However, it’s worth noting that intraocular pressure can both increase and decrease, so reacting immediately may be unnecessary. Exactly how quickly you’ll need to start treatment will largely depend on the type of glaucoma that you have. 


Open-angle glaucoma is by far the most common and usually develops over months or years. It’s often the result of the slow clogging of the drainage channels inside the eyes, keeping older fluid on the eyes even when there is newer fluid to replace it. Since it develops slowly, most patients tend to experience fluctuations in their intraocular pressure levels. With open-angle glaucoma, eye doctors tend to recommend treatment if your intraocular pressure is consistently higher than 28-30mm Hg. This is because prolonged pressure at this level could cause damage to the optic nerve. 


Closed-angle or acute glaucoma is much rarer, only occurring in around 10% of cases. Unlike open-angle glaucoma, acute glaucoma comes on very quickly, causing sudden symptoms and requiring immediate treatment to prevent vision loss. Acute glaucoma is classed as an ophthalmic emergency and if you experience symptoms, you should speak to your eye doctor immediately. The symptoms of acute glaucoma include:


  • Severe eye pain

  • Severe headache/migraine

  • Visual disturbances

  • Nausea/vomiting 

  • Blurred vision

  • Redness around the eyes


If your eye doctor confirms that you have acute glaucoma, you’ll need to start treatment to lower the pressure in your eyes right away. 


What Are The Treatments For Glaucoma?

There are a variety of different treatments for glaucoma, and which you’ll be recommended to have will depend on the type of glaucoma that you have. In most instances, people with slow-developing, open-angle glaucoma begin their treatment with eyedrops, which work by lowering the pressure inside the eyes. However, if eye drops aren’t effective or you need the pressure in your eyes to drop much more quickly, such as if you have acute glaucoma, you may be offered laser treatment instead of or alongside eyedrops. Laser treatment is used to open up the drainage channels so that the fluid can flow out of the eyes much faster, reducing the pressure as quickly as possible. And in some instances, conventional surgery may be required. This is called a trabeculectomy and involves removing part of the eye drainage tubes so that fluid can drain more easily. 


Your eye doctor will be able to advise you what steps you need to take to treat your glaucoma and preserve your vision. 



If you have questions about glaucoma, or to schedule an appointment, please contact the experienced eye care specialists at Longview Eye Associates in Longview, TX. Call (903) 417-0070 today.

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