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How do you treat glaucoma?

The treatment for glaucoma includes the use of prescription eye drops (either short term or long term), laser surgery and surgery in the operation room. Because damage caused by glaucoma cannot be reversed, these treatments are used to help prevent initial or further damage. In some cases, oral medications may also be prescribed.

Glaucoma management is usually a lifelong process that requires frequent monitoring and constant treatment. Because glaucoma can progress without the patient's knowledge, periodic examinations are very important to prevent vision loss. Also, adjustments to the treatment may be necessary from time to time.

The most common glaucoma treatment is the use of eye drops taken daily. These medications lower eye pressure, either by decreasing the amout of aqueous fluid produced within the eye or by improving the flow through the drainage angle. In most cases, patients must take them for the rest of their lives.

Glaucoma medications can preserve vision, but they may also produce side effects like stinging, itching, redness in the eyes or the skin around the eyes, changes in pulse and heartbeat, changes in breathing, changes in energy level, headaches, blurred vision, among others. All medications can have side effects or can interact with other medications, so it is important to have a list of medications to be shared with every doctor you see.