5 Effective Glaucoma Treatments To Discuss With Your Ophthalmologist

Posted on: 25 August 2015

You found out you have glaucoma, now what? Glaucoma is one of the top reasons people suffer from vision loss and complete blindness. If caught early, the optic nerve damage can be managed. It's important to do everything you can to have your glaucoma treated as quickly as possible at a clinic like Country Hills Eye Center. If you are trying to figure which type of treatment you want to agree to, here are your options.


If medical marijuana is legal in your home state, smoking it can treat your glaucoma. Marijuana lowers intraocular pressure, along with your overall blood pressures. Studies done with glaucoma patients showed drastic improvement with their intraocular pressure after smoking marijuana with an ice-cooled water pipe or taking THC oil. Talk to your doctor about prescribing you medical marijuana before a treatment with severe side effects, or in addition to a traditional glaucoma treatment.

Eye drops

Eye drops for glaucoma contain beta blockers. Beta blockers work well because they lower the pressure in the eyes; however, they have some rough side effects. The beta blockers relax people. They cause breathing to slow and blood pressure to decrease. It can cause side effects such as low blood pressure, fatigue, and slow heart rate. If you have asthma or emphysema, the beta blockers in the eye drops can make it worse.

If you're interested in the eye drops, you might want to ensure your doctor prescribes you an eye drop with prostaglandin instead of the beta blockers. Eye drops with the prostaglandin don't commonly have systematic side effects. However, they can change the color of your eyes, an make your eyelashes thicker and darker.


Glaucoma pills are often prescribed when the drops aren't working well enough. The pills aren't a good option if you experienced severe systematic side effects with the eye drops, because those side effects are generally worse with the pills. However, if you didn't experience any negative issues, the pills might be a great option for you. There are quite a few different types of pills you can try for glaucoma. Before agreeing to anything, go over the entire list with your doctor and learn the side effects and chances of improvement with each one. You want to make sure you are on a medication that will work well for you and that you are comfortable taking.

Laser surgery

Laser surgery is another option for treating glaucoma. It includes a laser light that focuses on the drainage angle of the eye to make fluid flow from the eye more easily. When the fluid can flow from that particular area, it lowers the pressure and improves your glaucoma. There are two different types of laser surgeries used to treat glaucoma. Selective laser trabeculoplasty (SLT) is an option that uses a low-powered laser. Argon laser trabeculoplasty (ALT) is an option that uses a higher-powered laser. ALT lowers the pressure in your eye by approximately 75%, and  SLT has shown to offer the same, if not a slightly better percentage.

Laser surgery won't work if you have closed-angle glaucoma. It's also not very effective if you have inflammatory glaucoma. However, if that isn't an issue for you, laser surgery might be a great option. Many people prefer to try laser surgery before having a stent put in the eye, since it is less invasive. If the laser doesn't work, the stent is your next option.


A stent is a small tube that is surgically placed into the eye to allow proper drainage. It works similar to the tubes that doctors put in people's ears if they are prone to ear infections. However, glaucoma surgery is not as routine and more invasive. It may seem scary to have surgery on your eye, but if other treatments aren't working, or you're at a stage where you don't have time to try other treatments, having a stent put in is important. It can drastically lower the pressure in your eyes and keep your glaucoma under control. New stents are constantly being tested in clinical trials, and several are already on the market. Stents are safe, effective, and don't have systematic side effects like the medication.

If you are suffering from glaucoma, you need to begin treatment immediately. If you're in an early stage, you can ask to try medical marijuana (if your state allows it) and/or the eye drops. You and your doctor can move down this list of treatments until something become effective. However, having a stent put in your eye may be your most effective treatment plan.