Thankfully, there are a number of effective ways to treat glaucoma and the symptoms it causes. According to the Mayo Clinic, these often include:
- Prostaglandins. These reduce your eye pressure by increasing the outflow of the fluid in your eye (aqueous humor). Latanoprost (Xalatan), travoprost (Travatan Z), tafluprost (Zioptan), bimatoprost (Lumigan), and latanoprostene bunod are some of the medications in this category (Vyzulta).Mild reddening and stinging of the eyes, darkening of the iris, darkening of the pigment of the eyelashes or eyelid skin, and blurred vision are all possible adverse effects. This medication is only to be taken once a day.
- Beta-blockers. These lower the pressure in your eye by reducing the production of fluid in your eye (intraocular pressure). Timolol (Betimol, Istalol, Timoptic) and betaxolol are two examples (Betoptic). Breathing difficulties, a decreased heart rate, lower blood pressure, impotence, and weariness are all possible adverse effects. Depending on your condition, this class of medicine may be given for once- or twice-daily use.
- Alpha-adrenergic agonists. These decrease aqueous humor production and promote fluid outflow in your eye. Apraclonidine (Iopidine) and brimonidine are two examples (Alphagan P, Qoliana). An erratic heart rate, elevated blood pressure, weariness, red, itchy, or swollen eyes, and a dry mouth are all possible adverse effects. This class of medication is normally administered twice daily, although it can also be prescribed three times a day.
- Carbonic anhydrase inhibitors. These medicines reduce the production of fluid in your eye. Examples include dorzolamide (Trusopt) and brinzolamide (Azopt). Possible side effects include a metallic taste, frequent urination, and tingling in the fingers and toes. This class of drug is usually prescribed for twice-daily use but sometimes can be prescribed for use three times a day.
- Rho-kinase inhibitor. This medication decreases ocular pressure by inhibiting the rho kinase enzymes that cause fluid accumulation. Netarsudil (Rhopressa) is the brand name for this medication, which is taken once a day. Eye redness, irritation, and deposits accumulating on the cornea are all possible side effects.
- Miotic or cholinergic agents. These enhance the amount of fluid that leaves your eye. Pilocarpine is an example (Isopto Carpine). Headache, eye discomfort, smaller pupils, hazy or poor vision, and nearsightedness are all possible side effects. This type of medication is typically administered up to four times per day. These drugs are no longer commonly recommended due to the risk of side effects and the requirement for daily administration.
If eyedrops alone aren't enough to lower your eye pressure, your doctor may prescribe an oral drug, such as a carbonic anhydrase inhibitor. Frequent urination, tingling in the fingers and toes, sadness, stomach distress, and kidney stones are all possible adverse effects.
Surgery and other therapies
In some cases, your provider may recommend surgery or other therapies to treat your glaucoma. Common glaucoma procedures include:
- Laser therapy. If eyedrops alone aren't enough to lower your eye pressure, your doctor may prescribe an oral drug, such as a carbonic anhydrase inhibitor. Frequent urination, tingling in the fingers and toes, sadness, stomach distress, and kidney stones are all possible adverse effects.
- Filtering surgery. A trabeculectomy (truh-bek-u-LEK-tuh-me) is a surgical operation in which your surgeon makes an opening in the white of the eye (sclera) and removes part of the trabecular meshwork.
- Drainage tubes. A tiny tube shunt is inserted into your eye by your eye surgeon to drain out excess fluid and relieve your eye pressure.
- Minimally invasive glaucoma surgery (MIGS). To lower your eye pressure, your doctor may recommend MIGS surgery. These treatments are less risky and require less immediate postoperative care than trabeculectomy or the placement of a drainage device. They're frequently used in conjunction with cataract surgery. There are several MIGS treatments to choose from, and your doctor will discuss which one is best for you.
- Treating acute angle-closure glaucoma. Glaucoma with acute angle-closure is a medical emergency. If you've been diagnosed with this illness, you'll require immediate therapy to lower your eye pressure. This will usually necessitate the use of medicine as well as laser or other surgical techniques. A laser peripheral iridotomy is a technique in which a doctor uses a laser to create a small opening in your iris. This permits fluid (aqueous humor) to pass through it, reducing strain on the eyes.