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Glaucoma Treatment

Glaucoma Treatment

Glaucoma is an asymptomatic disease that slowly steals your peripheral vision over time. Glaucoma occurs when the optic nerves are damaged due to increased intra-ocular pressure (IOP). Glaucoma treatment is available.

This high IOP slowly ‘kills’ the optic nerve fibres, resulting in irreversible visual field damage.

Glaucoma is diagnosed by accurately measuring IOP (and adjusting for corneal thickness), doing a visual field test and measuring the optic nerve fibres with an OCT scan. We can then use this information to predict your risk of developing glaucoma over the next 5 years.

In most cases, glaucoma is treated with eyedrops. New technology like iStents or Xen gel stents are often used to lower IOP in conjunction with cataract surgery.

Types of glaucoma and their causes


Glaucoma is caused by, or is the result of damage or injury to the optic nerve. As the optic nerve gradually weakens or deteriorates, blind spots begin to develop in your field of vision. The damage to the nerve is generally related to increased pressure in the eye.

This pressure is due to a build-up of fluid that circulates throughout the inside of the eye. Normally, this fluid will drain out through a tissue at the angle where the cornea and iris meet. An overproduction of fluid means that your drainage system will fail to function properly because the fluid cannot flow out at its normal rate. This causes an increase in eye pressure.

Glaucoma is hereditary which means that it tends to run in families. You are at a much higher risk of developing glaucoma if any of your immediate family members have it. In other words, your family history considerably increases the risk of glaucoma.

Types of glaucoma:

Open-angle glaucoma – is the most common form of the disorder. The drainage angle created by the iris and cornea remain open but the trabecular meshwork, or the spongy tissue remains partially blocked. When this happens, it causes pressure to gradually increase in the eye damaging the optic nerve. This happens at such a slow pace that you lose your vision before you are even aware that you have a problem.Angle-closure glaucoma – also known as closed-angle glaucoma, happens when your iris bulges forward and blocks or narrows the drainage angle. Fluid cannot then circulate through the eye resulting in increased pressure. This type of the disease may occur very suddenly (acute angle-closure glaucoma) or it can occur gradually (chronic angle-closure glaucoma). Acute angle-closure glaucoma is an ophthalmic emergency. If not identified and treated immediately, it can lead to irreversible blindness.

Normal-tension glaucoma – is when the optic nerve becomes damaged even though your eye pressure is normal. It could be because you have a sensitive optic nerve, or you may perhaps have less blood being supplied to the optic nerve. It could also be caused by a build-up of fatty deposits in the arteries. Other conditions that impair your circulation could also cause normal-tension glaucoma.

Glaucoma in children – Infants and children can also develop glaucoma. It can develop in the first few years of their life or may even be present at birth.


Glaucoma has often been called the “sneak thief of vision” as many forms of the disease have no warning signs. The effects are so gradual that you may not even notice a change in your vision until it is in an advanced stage. If you do develop any symptoms, it is usually late in the disease and these can include a loss of side or peripheral vision.

Open-angle glaucoma symptoms

  • Blind spots in your central or peripheral vision. This can happen frequently in both eyes.
  • In the advanced stage of the disease, you will experience tunnel vision.

Acute angle-closure glaucoma symptoms

  • Pain in the eye or eyes
  • Severe headaches
  • Blurry vision
  • Redness of the eye
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Seeing halos around lights

If you suspect you may have glaucoma, do not leave it untreated as it will eventually cause blindness. Make an appointment with one of the ophthalmologists at Kloof Eye immediately if you experience some of the symptoms of acute angle-closure glaucoma.

Glaucoma treatment and surgery

Treatment for glaucoma could include your ophthalmologist prescribing medication to lower the pressure in your eye. These can be eye drops or oral medications. Other options are laser surgery or micro surgery. Speak to us at Kloof Eye for the best option for your type of glaucoma.

  • Oral medication – Medications such as beta-blockers or carbonic anhydrase inhibitors can slow the creation of fluid in your eye and improve drainage.
  • Eye drops – These can help the fluid in your eyes drain better thus lowering the pressure. Occasionally, they can also reduce the amount of fluid your eyes make. It is important to note that these can have side effects that include stinging, blurred vision, and redness.
  • Micro surgery – Your ophthalmologist will perform a procedure called a trabeculectomy. This is done to create a new channel to drain the fluid and reduce eye pressure.
  • Laser surgery – If you have open-angle glaucoma, this procedure will be used to slightly raise the flow of fluid from your eye. If you have angle-closure glaucoma, it can stop fluid blockage. Laser procedures include trabeculoplasty, iridotomy and cyclophotocoagulation.

Kloof Eye’s qualified ophthalmologists, Dr. Riel de la Bat and Dr. Gratia Fischer, are fully capable of treating your glaucoma. They focus on delivering the highest quality eye care meaning you can enjoy the best quality outcome. Should you or anyone you know suspect you may have the disease, reach out to us today.