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Glaucoma Overview (cont.)

Glaucoma Surgery

In certain cases, surgery may be required.

  • If you have angle-closure glaucoma, an operation called an iridotomy may need to be done. During an iridotomy, a drainage hole is created in the iris in order to relieve the increased pressure inside the eye. This technique can be performed using a laser; therefore, an incision in the eye is not needed. You may choose to have an iridotomy after an acute episode of angle-closure glaucoma or to prevent an attack of angle-closure glaucoma.
  • Medication normally does not work well for congenital glaucoma, so surgery is usually required.
  • Other types of surgery that are performed to help glaucoma include trabeculoplasty, cyclophotocoagulation, and filtering. All of these procedures try to ease the drainage of aqueous humor in the affected eye or eyes to decrease IOP. For more information on these procedures, consult your eye doctor.

Glaucoma Follow-up

Before leaving the hospital or your doctor's office, you should make sure you have information concerning the following:

  • Medications - When and how they should be taken
  • Signs and symptoms - What symptoms to look for that suggest medication failure, side effects, or other problems
  • Limitations - What activities you must refrain from and for how long
  • Follow-up - When to set up an appointment with your doctor for follow-up examination and to repeat the visual field test

Glaucoma Prevention

In most cases, the best prevention for glaucoma is early detection. If detected early, vision loss and blindness may be prevented. Anyone older than 20 years should have a glaucoma screening. Periodic eye examinations are indicated for the rest of your life to help prevent and identify glaucoma, especially if you have certain risk factors such as being an African American or having a family history of glaucoma.

Glaucoma Outlook

Although glaucoma cannot be cured, it can be controlled. People with glaucoma need to have regular eye examinations and usually need to continue treatment for the rest of their lives.

  • Untreated acute glaucoma results in permanent vision loss. Untreated chronic glaucoma can progress to blindness within several years.
  • Early diagnosis and treatment usually results in excellent success and vision is saved. The outcome for congenital glaucoma varies depending on the age that symptoms are detected and the child’s response to therapy.

Glaucoma Pictures

Illustration of the eye.
Illustration of the eye. Click to view larger image.

Illustration of the eye.
Illustration of the eye. Click to view larger image.

Medically reviewed by William Baer, MD; Board Certified Ophthalmology


"Open-angle glaucoma: Epidemiology, clinical presentation, and diagnosis"

"Angle-closure glaucoma"

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/17/2017
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