How Is Glaucoma Treated?

Glaucoma Treatment

Intervention can succeed at many stages in the progress of glaucoma. If you've been diagnosed with glaucoma, your doctor will recommend medications, laser, or surgery for treatment depending on your particular type of glaucoma and lifestyle factors.

Glaucoma Medications

Medicated eye drops are the most common way to treat glaucoma. The drops work to lower eye pressure by either improving flow of fluid through the drainage angle or slowing production of fluid (aqueous humor). These drops, just like any other prescribed medication, need to be taken regularly. If you have difficulty using drops or if you have unwanted side effects from drops, discuss this with your doctor. There may be other treatment options available for you.


Laser Trabeculoplasty

At Mid Ohio Eye, Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty, or SLT is a common way to treat patients with open angle glaucoma. In SLT, a low level energy laser targets the drainage angle of the eye and stimulates it to function more efficiently. No holes are created in this process. This painless procedure takes only minutes to perform and may eliminate or decrease your dependence on eye drops to control your glaucoma. Not every patient will have success with SLT, but if initially successful, this laser can be repeated if the eye pressure rises again.


Laser Iridotomy

Laser iridotomy is recommended for patients with closed angle glaucoma or those with very narrow drainage angles. A laser is used to create a small hole in the iris (colored portion of the eye) in order to allow fluid better access to the drainage angle.



In trabeculectomy, a small flap is made in the sclera (the outer white coating of your eye). A new drainage mechanism is created which bypasses the faulty drainage mechanism. A filtration bleb, or reservoir, is created under the conjunctiva — the thin, filmy membrane that covers the white part of your eye. Once created, the bleb looks like a bump or blister on the white part of the eye above the iris, but the upper eyelid usually covers it. The aqueous humor can now drain through the flap made in the sclera and collect in the bleb, where the fluid will be absorbed into blood vessels around the eye.
Eye pressure is effectively controlled in three out of four people who have trabeculectomy. Although regular follow-up visits with your doctor are still necessary, many patients no longer need to use eyedrops. If the new drainage channel closes or too much fluid begins to drain from the eye, additional surgery may be needed.


Aqueous Shunt Surgery

Aqueous shunt surgery is another type of glaucoma surgery that is usually successful in lowering eye pressure. An aqueous shunt is a small plastic tube or valve connected on one end to a reservoir (a roundish or oval plate). The shunt is an artificial drainage device and is implanted in the eye through a tiny incision. The shunt redirects aqueous humor to an area beneath the conjunctiva (the thin membrane that covers the inside of your eyelids and the white part of your eye). The fluid is then absorbed into the blood vessels. When healed, the reservoir is not easily seen unless you look downward and lift your eyelid.