The only way to treat glaucoma is to lower the eye pressure (IOP), even in patients with low tension glaucoma (normal pressure glaucoma). This can be done by drops, laser or surgery. Usually, drops are used in the first instance and if the pressure is still too high or if you develop an intolerance to drops, surgery is indicated. Laser is only useful in a few specific instances.
Drops either reduce the production of or increase the drainage of the fluid (aqueous humour) inside the eye. They do not effect the production of tears, which flow on the surface of the eye but inside the eye. Occasionally, drops will have side effects either locally (causing the eye to go red or the eyelashes to grow longer and darker) or on the rest of your body. For instance, timolol can cause patients asthma to get worse, so we will ask you if you have asthma before starting you on drops. The absorbtion of the drop into the body can be reduced by applying pressure into the corner of the eye – this stops the drop draining into the nose and being absorbed by the nasal mucosa.
Have a look at this Video showing how drops should be used.
We occasionally undertake laser, depending on the type of glaucoma you have. Yag Laser Iridotomy is frequently used for patients with angle closure glaucoma and pigment dispersion syndrome. The laser we most commonly use especially early in the course of ocular hypertension or glaucoma is Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty.
See the section on Glaucoma Surgery