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Glaucoma: Treatment

Distefano Laser
Glaucoma is treated in a number of ways, including medications and surgery. Because glaucoma can damage the optic nerve, it’s important to have regular eye examinations. Early detection and treatment can reduce damage and reduce the need for more extensive treatment.  Vision loss from glaucoma is irreversible. If treated early and properly, most people with glaucoma do not lose their sight.


To treat glaucoma, your physician my prescribe eye drops or pills. Medications should be taken as prescribed. Many glaucoma medications don’t have side effects, but should you experience them, report them to your doctor immediately. There may be alternatives.

Pressure from Glaucoma can damage the optic nerve, affecting sight irreversibly.

Laser Surgery

When medications do control glaucoma or have too many negative side effects, surgery can be an alternative.  Laser surgery is an increasing popular treatment for glaucoma. The laser beam (a high energy light beam) is focused upon the eye’s drain. The laser changes the drainage system in very subtle ways so that aqueous fluid is able to pass more easily out of the drain, thus lowering pressure in the eye.


iStent is the first MIGS device that improves your eye’s natural fluid outflow to safely lower eye pressure by creating a permanent opening in the trabecular meshwork. Proven safe and effective, the iStent Trabecular Micro-Bypass:

  • Is safely implanted during cataract surgery
  • Spares important eye tissue that is often damaged by traditional surgeries
  • Does not limit treatment options that could help maintain your vision in the future

iStent is the smallest medical device ever approved by the FDA. It is placed in your eye during cataract surgery and is so small that you won’t be able to see or feel it after the procedure is over. iStent is designed to create a permanent opening in your trabecular meshwork, and works continuously to improve the outflow of fluid from your eyes to help control eye pressure.

For patients with combined cataract and open-angle glaucoma, iStent reduces introcular pressure (IOP) by improving aqueous humor outflow. Inserted through a 1.5-mm corneal incision, iStent is the only FDA-approved device for the treatment of mild to moderate open-angle glaucoma.


If you have glaucoma and medications and laser surgeries do not lower your eye pressure adequately, we may recommend a procedure called a trabeculectomy.

In this procedure, a tiny drainage hole is made in the sclera (the white part of the eye). The new drainage hole allows fluid to flow out of the eye into a filtering area called a bleb. The bleb is mostly hidden under the eyelid. When successful, the procedure will lower your introcular pressure (IOP), minimizing the risk of vision loss from glaucoma. The surgery is performed in an operating room on an outpatient basis.

Some of the risks and complications from the surgery include the following:

  • failure to control intraocular pressure, with the need for another operation
  • infection
  • bleeding or swelling in the eye
  • irritation or discomfort in the eye
  • eye pressure that is too low
  • cataract (in cases where cataract has not already been removed)
  • decreased or lost vision

For an appointment, call DiStefano Eye Center at (423) 648-3937. Or Click Here to contact us online.

Learn More About Glaucoma And Its Symptoms

LASIK surgery changed my life. I'm more productive and more active than ever. I wish I'd done it sooner. Dr. Distefano and her staff were amazing!

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Schedule an appointment at either of our offices.