Glaucoma is a GROUP of disorders. What they all have in common is an increase in the pressure inside the eye. When the pressure is too high, damage occurs to the optic nerve. The optic nerve is made up of a bundle of nerve fibers which sends signals to the brain. Damage to the optic nerve can initially cause blind spots at the outer edges of the field of vision called peripheral or side vision. This is the main sign of glaucoma treated.
The primary goal of treatment is to preserve vision. The typical first line of treatment is eye drops which lower the intraocular pressure by helping fluid leave the eye or by reducing the amount of fluid produced in the eye. Some patients may need to take multiple different types of eye drops or even eye drops plus medications in pill form to effectively lower the pressure. In addition, there are laser treatments for both angle closure and open angle glaucoma. Laser treatment for angle closure glaucoma is usually performed to prevent an acute attack as described above; while laser treatment for open angle glaucoma is performed when medications are not effective enough or the patient has difficulty taking medications. Surgery, which involves making a drainage system for the fluid in the eye, is usually performed when medications and lasers are ineffective.