Glaucoma is a common condition resulting in an increased amount of pressure in the eyes. The abnormally high pressure in the eyes can result in damage to the optic nerve. Glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness in people over the age of 60. Fortunately, there are many treatments available for glaucoma.
What is used in the treatment of glaucoma?
Prostaglandin Analogues — Prostaglandin analogues work by increasing the flow of aqueous humor out of the eye, reducing IOP. They include bimatoprost, latanoprost and travoprost. Prostaglandin analogue drops are used once a day, usually at night and in most cases effectively control IOP. Prostaglandins can cause eyelashes to grow and can occasionally darken the eyelids. A common side effect of prostaglandin analogues is redness of the eye. This is usually mild although redness can be more pronounced for the first few weeks of treatment. Prostaglandin analogues may gradually darken eye color for a small number of patients.
Beta Blockers — The most commonly used beta blocker is timolol. Beta blocker eye drops are usually used once to twice daily. Beta blockers work by decreasing production of aqueous humor, which lowers IOP. Some of the side effects include low blood pressure, slow heart rate, and general fatigue. If you take multiple medicines, including for blood pressure, discuss this with your doctor. There may be some cautions for people using beta blockers to manage blood pressure or patients with asthma. Systemic side effects such as these can be minimized by closing the eye and pressing the tear duct following eye drop installation.
Alpha Agonists — Alpha agonists work to reduce intraocular pressure by decreasing production and increasing the drainage of aqueous humor. Brimonidine is the most common alpha agonist. It is usually instilled into the eye twice a day. Burning or stinging upon installation of the eye drop, fatigue, headache, drowsiness, dry mouth and dry nose may be side effects.
Cholinergic (Miotics) — The most common miotic is pilocarpine and is usually used three to four times a day. Miotics increase the outflow of aqueous humor to decrease IOP. Some people who use these medications notice blurred vision, especially at night. This is due to constriction of the pupil.
Combination Therapies — Combination drugs are available for many glaucoma eye drops and assist patients by minimizing the number of drops they need to use as well as reducing cost.
How much does glaucoma treatment cost?
Glaucoma treatment sometimes involves surgery, which can be fairly expensive, ranging from one to several thousand dollars. Fortunately, it is deemed medically necessary, and it most likely is covered under insurance to some extent.
What should glaucoma patients avoid?
Trans fatty acids are linked with high cholesterol levels. They are also known to damage blood vessels in our body. This can harm anywhere in the body, including the eyes. Everything we see is transmitted to our brain via the optic nerve, which is a very sensitive and vital part of the eye. Any damage to this nerve is irreversible. Consuming a diet high in trans fatty acids can result in damaging the optic nerve. You should avoid foods like baked goods such as cookies, cakes, donuts or fried items like French fries or stick margarine to steer clear from worsening your glaucoma. It may also improve your eye health. To spot foods with high trans fatty acids when shopping, look for ‘partially hydrogenated oils’ in the ingredients list.
If you or someone you know is struggling with glaucoma, come to Promontory Family Vision, where our team of eye experts can help you find the solution to your problems. Contact our office today to speak with a specialist. To schedule an appointment, call us or visit us online!