Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Eye Health Center

Font Size

Frequently Asked Questions About Glaucoma

Q. Is there any way to prevent glaucoma?

There is nothing that will prevent glaucoma, but you can slow down its development with early treatment. Therefore, it is very important that you have regular eye exams. Your doctor will perform a series of painless tests -- eye pressure measurements, dilated eye exams, and sometimes visual field testing -- to check for any changes in your eye or in your vision. With early detection, glaucoma can often be controlled with medications, either eye drops or pills. If your glaucoma doesn't respond to medication, your doctor may also recommend surgery. Remember, about half of people with glaucoma don't know they have it, and doctors cannot reverse damage from glaucoma.  Vision lost is irreversible, you can't get your vision back once it is lost. Your best protection is to get regular eye exams, every couple of years if you are over 40 or on a schedule recommended by your doctor.

 

Recommended Related to Eye Health

Ocular Albinism

Important It is possible that the main title of the report Ocular Albinism is not the name you expected. Please check the synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and disorder subdivision(s) covered by this report.

Read the Ocular Albinism article > >

Q. If I have glaucoma, will I become blind?

The chances are good that you will not go blind if you take your medication correctly and regularly and follow up with your doctor. Treatment significantly slows the damage that occurs to the optic nerve because of the high pressure in the eye. In fact, if you take your eye drops on schedule each day, you'll probably keep your eyesight until the day you die of old age!
 

Q. If my parent has glaucoma, will I get it?

Not necessarily, but it does increase your risk. Other factors that may increase your risk are:

  • Being over age 50
  • Being over age 40 and African-American
  • Having a family history of glaucoma
  • Having a history of serious eye injury
  • Taking steroid medications
  • Having diabetes
  • Being nearsighted
  • Having high blood pressure

People with these risk factors should have their eyes examined on a regular basis to look for the disease.
 

Q. Are there effective treatments for glaucoma?

Yes. There are many different types of medications (in eye drops or pills) that are used to treat glaucoma. Typically, the doctor will start you on an eye drop formula. The medications work two ways: Some decrease how much fluid is produced in the eye; others help the fluid flow out better. Many people can preserve their vision if they take their medications as scheduled and visit their doctor regularly. Note: Medications for glaucoma -- even eye drops -- can affect the entire body, so you should alert all of your doctors that you are taking them.

In some people, however, drugs alone do not control the eye pressure, and surgery is needed. One type of surgery called laser trabeculoplasty uses a laser to improve the flow of fluids out of the eye. This can be done in your doctor's office. There are also several conventional surgeries -- the most common is called trabeculectomy -- in which your doctor creates a new drainage path in the eye under the eyelid. This surgery must be done in an operating room. After both of these procedures, people may still have to take eye drops to further lower the eye pressure.
 

WebMD Medical Reference

Today on WebMD

businesswoman wearing fun eyeglasses
Slideshow
Pink Eye Slideshow
Slideshow
 
Woman with itchy watery eyes
Slideshow
grilled salmon and spinach
Video
 

Understanding Stye
Article
human eye
Article
 
eye
Video
eye exam timing
Video
 

vision test
Tool
is vision correction surgery for you
Article
 
high tech contacts
Article
eye drop
Article
 

Special Sections