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Diseases & Conditions

New thinking on glaucoma treatment

October 1, 2022

For people with the most common form of the disease, the approach to first-line treatment is changing.

photo of a mature man having his eye pressure checked during an eye exam

When the doctor says you have glaucoma, there’s a good chance it’s open-angle glaucoma, the most common form of the vision-robbing disease. It’s also likely you’ll be given prescription eye drops to halt the disease’s progression; that’s typically the first line of treatment. But some people might benefit initially with a procedure normally reserved as a second step.

What is glaucoma?

There are many forms of glaucoma. They all cause damage to the optic nerve, which carries visual signals to the brain. The damage often develops when a poorly functioning drainage system leads to elevated pressure in the eye. Normally, fluid passes through the inside of the eye and exits through a sieve of tissue called the trabecular meshwork. In most cases of open-angle glaucoma, the meshwork becomes clogged with debris. Fluid then backs up, which gradually raises pressure inside the eye, damaging the optic nerve.

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