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Glaucoma Treatments

Glaucoma is a common disease that is often (but not always) associated with high pressure in your eye. It is sometimes referred to as the Silent Thief of Sight because it causes no pain or noticeable symptoms until very late in its course. It is still one of the leading causes of visual loss world-wide. Because of this, it is important to have regular exams by your ophthalmologist if there is a family history or if you are over 60 years of age. Glaucoma is a complex disease process but it is very treatable. It does, however, require close monitoring to achieve a good outcome. Many patients with glaucoma will be monitored every 4 to 6 months for the rest of their lives. With careful follow up, most people that are diagnosed with glaucoma will go on to have a normal life with very functional vision.

Not all of the underlying mechanisms for the development of glaucoma are understood, however, we do know that age and genetic factors play the largest role. A family history is an extremely important risk factor. Other contributing factors are trauma, congenital defects, certain medications (especially cortisone) and certain inherent conditions of the eye such as extreme far-sightedness or the development of an advanced cataract.

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Many treatments are available to control glaucoma. Daily eye drops are probably the most common first approach, although laser has been shown to be equally effective. Most people are managed effectively with either of these approaches. However, in serious cases, surgery is required to prevent progressive visual loss.

Much research is ongoing in this arena. New procedures are continually being developed and brought to market. Your ophthalmologist will be happy to discuss these new procedures with you, and whether some may be appropriate in your specific — if surgical options become necessary.

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