Popular And Common Methods Of Treating Glaucoma

Living with glaucoma can be irritating, especially if it’s already affecting your vision. Doctors employ several methods for treating glaucoma, including eye drops, oral medications and surgical procedures.

Eye Drops to Treat Glaucoma

Always use prescription eye drops exactly as instructed, as incorrect use could cause further damage to the optic nerve rather than prevent it.
Common types of eye drops prescribed to treat glaucoma include the following:

  • Alpha-agonists facilitate drainage and reduce production of the aqueous humor. Side effects may include dizziness, fatigue and eye irritation.
  • Beta-blockers reduce production of the aqueous humor. Side effects include hair loss, low blood pressure, impotence, fatigue, depression and memory loss.
  • Carbonic anhydrase inhibitors reduce production of the aqueous humor. Associated side effects are frequent urination and a tingling sensation in the extremities.
  • Epinephrine compounds increase the outflow of aqueous humor, rather than reduce production. Side effects include anxiety, headache, high blood pressure, palpitations and red eyes.
  • Miotic or cholinergic agents increase outflow of aqueous humor. Possible side effects include blurred vision, digestive problems, eye irritation, nearsightedness, stuffy nose, sweating and salivation.
  • Prostaglandin-like compounds increase outflow of aqueous humor. Side effects may include blurred vision, eye irritation and darkening of the iris or eyelid skin.

Oral Glaucoma Treatments

If eye drops are ineffective in lowering the level of eye pressure, your doctor may prescribe oral carbonic anhydrase inhibitors, which, like the eye drops, are meant to reduce production of the aqueous humor.
Side effects for this type of medication include depression, fatigue, frequent urination, impotence, kidney stones, lethargy, rashes, tingling in the extremities, upset stomach and weight loss.


If eye drops and oral medications are not effective, you may elect to undergo ocular surgery. Three basic types are available:

  • Drainage implant surgery: Your surgeon will insert a small silicone tube in your eye to help facilitate drainage. This procedure can be performed on an outpatient basis.
  • Filtering surgery: Your surgeon will make an incision in the white part of your eye and remove a piece of your trabecular meshwork to facilitate easier drainage. Often called a trabeculectomy, this can be an outpatient procedure.
  • Laser surgery: Sometimes called a trabeculoplasty, this is a 10- to 20-minute procedure in which the doctor uses a laser to open clogged drainage canals in your eye. You can resume normal activity shortly after the procedure.

If your glaucoma hasn’t deteriorated to the point where you and your doctor believe traditional treatments are necessary, you may opt for alternative glaucoma treatments.