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Focus on: Glaucoma

Podcast—How is glaucoma treated?

(ANNOUNCER OPEN): Glaucoma is a group of diseases that can damage the optic nerve of the eye and result in vision loss or blindness.  Glaucoma generally occurs when the normal fluid pressure inside the eye slowly rises.  With early treatment, however, a person’s eyes often can be protected against vision loss.  Dr. Satya Verma, Director of Community Eye Care at Pennsylvania College of Optometry, member of the National Eye Institute’s National Eye Health Education Program Planning Committee, and Secretary of the Pennsylvania Vision Conservation Institute, explains…

(DR. SATYA VERMA): Well, glaucoma is treated successfully by using eye drops, and sometimes eye surgery is also indicated.  Actually, it is not treated.  The best way to say that is glaucoma is controlled by using medication, and that means the person has to continue to take medications throughout their life.

(ANNOUNCER CLOSE): Medications may include eye drops or pills that control eye pressure by slowing the natural flow of fluid into the eye, or improving how the fluid drains.  Another option is laser surgery, which focuses a strong beam of light on the part of the eye where fluid drains, making it easier for the fluid to exit the eye.  A third treatment option is standard surgery—though that approach is used only for patients whose eye pressure cannot be controlled with drops or laser surgery.  The effectiveness of any type of treatment can change over time, so it is important to continue regular follow-up visits with an eye care professional to control the advance of glaucoma.  For more information on glaucoma and its treatment, visit www.nei.nih.gov/glaucoma.  For the National Eye Institute, this has been a Focus On: Glaucoma.