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Diseases & Conditions
New thinking on glaucoma treatment
- By Heidi Godman, Executive Editor, Harvard Health Letter
For people with the most common form of the disease, the approach to first-line treatment is changing.
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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About the Author
Heidi Godman, Executive Editor, Harvard Health Letter
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles.
No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.
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