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General Practice 2023

Is Glaucoma Curable? Main forms of treatment

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Is Glaucoma Curable? Main forms of treatment
Is Glaucoma Curable? Main forms of treatment

Glaucoma is a chronic disease of the eye that leads to increased intraocular pressure, which can result in serious consequences, mainly irreversible blindness.

Although there is no cure, intraocular pressure can be controlled and symptoms alleviated with appropriate treatment. Thus, the ideal is that whenever there is a suspicion of having the disease, an ophthalmologist should be consulted to start treatment, which may include the use of eye drops, pills or even surgery.

Generally, the doctor needs to start by making an assessment to understand the type of glaucoma, as it can influence the type of treatment:

Type of Glaucoma Features
Open or chronic angle It is the most frequent and usually affects both eyes and does not cause symptoms. There is blockage of the eye's drainage channels, reducing the natural drainage of fluid from the eye, with increased pressure in the eye and gradual loss of vision.
Close/narrow or acute angle It is the most serious because the fluid passage is quickly blocked, leading to increased pressure and loss of vision.
Congenital It is a rare situation where the baby is already born with the disease being diagnosed around 6 months of age. Treatment is only done with surgery.
Secondary Glaucoma It is caused by eye injuries such as blows, bleeding, eye tumor, diabetes, cataracts or the use of some medication, such as cortisone, for example.

Available treatment options

Depending on the type of glaucoma and the severity of symptoms, as well as eye pressure, the ophthalmologist may recommend the following treatments:

1. Eye drops

Eldrops are usually the first choice for glaucoma treatment, as they are easy to use and do not require an invasive intervention. However, these eye drops need to be used every day, or as directed by the doctor, to ensure that the intraocular pressure is well regulated.

The eye drops most used in the treatment of glaucoma are those that decrease intraocular pressure, such as Latanoprost or Timolol, but it is also possible that the doctor will recommend an anti-inflammatory drug, such as Prednisolone, to reduce discomfort. in any case, these drugs need to be prescribed by an ophthalmologist, as they have several side effects and cannot be sold without a prescription.Learn more about the main eye drops to treat Glaucoma.

In cases of open angle glaucoma, eye drops may be enough to keep the problem well controlled, but in cases of closed angle eye drops are usually not enough and, therefore, the ophthalmologist may indicate laser therapy or surgery.

2. Pills

Glaucoma pills can, in some cases, be used in combination with eye drops, as they also help to lower the pressure inside the eye. This type of medication is also more commonly used in cases of open-angle glaucoma.

When taking this type of pills, it is necessary to go to the nutritionist to adjust the diet, as potassium absorption may decrease, and it is necessary to increase the consumption of foods such as dried fruits, bananas, raw carrots, tomatoes or radish, for example.

3. Laser Therapy

Laser therapy is usually used when eye drops and pills cannot control intraocular pressure, but before surgery is attempted. This type of technique can be performed in the doctor's office and usually takes between 15 and 20 minutes.

During the treatment, the ophthalmologist points a laser at the drainage system of the eye, in order to make small changes that allow an improvement in the removal of the liquid. Since the result can take 3 to 4 weeks to appear, the doctor can schedule several evaluations to evaluate over time.

4. Surgery

The use of surgery is more common in cases of angle-closure glaucoma, as the use of eye drops and medications may not be enough to control intraocular pressure. However, surgery can also be used in any other case when the treatment is not having the expected effect.

The most common type of surgery is known as a trabeculectomy.

After surgery, many patients can stay several months without needing to use any type of medication and, even when they do, control of intraocular pressure is easier. However, this does not mean that the disease is cured, and it is advisable to maintain regular visits to the ophthalmologist.

Watch the following video and understand better what glaucoma is and how it is treated:

Signs of improvement

Signs of improvement can take up to 7 days to appear and typically include reduced eye redness, decreased eye pain, and relief from nausea and vomiting.

Signs of worsening

Signs of worsening are more frequent in patients who are not properly treated and include increased difficulty seeing.

Possible complications

The main complication is blindness, which arises due to permanent damage to the eye caused by increased pressure. However, other complications include floaters and tunnel vision.

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