How to treat glaucoma

If you’re suffering from pains in your eyes, distinctly red eyes, the appearance of halos around bright lights, blurred vision and a feeling of nauseousness, you may be experiencing symptoms of angle closure glaucoma. This is a serious and dangerous eye condition, and as it can lead to complete blindness, it’s important to act fast in having it diagnosed by an eyecare professional before it worsens.

Glaucoma is a common eye problem that occurs when the optic nerve between the eye and the brain is damaged. It is usually caused by fluid building up at the front of the eye, resulting in pressure rising inside the eye. However, pressure can also rise inside the eye if there is a resistance in the outflow of fluid inside the eye. Due to the severity of glaucoma, finding a suitable treatment is crucial, but you may be wondering to what extent you can treat this condition and if it’s possible to permanently reverse its effects. In this blog, we investigate potential treatments for glaucoma and whether or not it’s possible to completely cure the condition.

Can glaucoma be cured?

At present, there is no cure for glaucoma, and once the optic nerve has been damaged, it can’t be regenerated. This is due to the negative impact glaucoma has on the retinal ganglion cells (RGC) near the inner surface of the retina. After they’ve been severely damaged beyond repair, RGCs aren’t able to regrow, meaning that new cells would need to be surgically added between the eye and the brain to regain sight loss from glaucoma.

Despite the slim chance of ever being able to completely cure glaucoma, many experts continue to research potential ways to restore sight loss caused by this condition, such as whether the RGCs could be replaced.

Although research has suggested that progenitor cells from bone marrow and other parts of the eye could be used as a replacement for irreparably damaged RGCs, one concern over performing this type of procedure is the risk of damaging functioning RGCs during the process of transplanting these new cells. Alternatively, experts have looked at methods of protecting the optic nerve, such as through gene therapy and neuro-protection.

Is glaucoma treatable?

If you’re beginning to experience early signs of glaucoma, it’s important to seek treatment quickly to limit the damage caused. Fortunately, it’s possible to treat the early signs, and the sooner you take action, the more positive the results are likely to be.

The primary aim of a glaucoma treatment is to slow down and, if possible, halt the progression of the condition to prevent blindness in the future. It’s important to detect the signs of glaucoma early by having regular eye examinations by your optometrist.

It would be advisable for everyone to do this, but it’s even more crucial if you fall within a higher risk group, such as having family members who also suffer from the condition. By planning regular check-ups, you will enhance your chances of catching it quickly to find an effective method of managing and treating the condition.

What is the best treatment for glaucoma?

Lowering eye pressure is the only way to control glaucoma, but how you do this is based on the severity of your glaucoma and personal preference. Treatments for glaucoma come in different forms, ranging from simple medications that can be applied yourself, to long-term solutions that require professional attention. These include:

Eye drops

– in early stages and minor cases, reducing eye pressure can be done through the use of certain eye drop treatments.

Selective laser trabeculoplasty

– laser treatment to the trabecular meshwork, often known as the drainage sieve of the eye, can be carried out to increase the outflow of aqueous, lowering eye pressure.


Surgical treatments for glaucoma are available in two general forms. These are:

i) Traditional surgery 

  • trabeculectomy or tube (aqueous shunt) surgery
  • creating another route for the outflow of the aqueous.

ii) Minimally invasive glaucoma surgery

  • carried out using newer devices 
  • less invasive surgery compared to traditional methods
  • normally performed during cataract surgery.
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