Why do I have glaucoma?
Only one in twenty cases of glaucoma in the Unites States is caused by an identifiable condition
or event. 95 percent of the time glaucoma is "primary", meaning that the cause cannot be determined.
How did I get it?
Unless you have a specific disease or have had an injury to your eye, you were simply born with the
tendency to develop glaucoma, and it has most likely progressed over the years.
Do I have to watch my diet?
There is no scientific evidence that diet has any significant influence on glaucoma.
Can I take hay fever medications?
Hay fever medications will often times carry warnings about use in patients with glaucoma. These
warnings refer to patients with angle closure glaucoma and not open angle glaucoma. Be sure to tell
your doctor about the use of all medications.
Does blood pressure affect glaucoma?
It is possible for high blood pressure to affect the blood flow to the optic but is not itself a
cause of glaucoma.
Does stress or tension cause glaucoma?
There does not seem to be a relationship between stress or tension and glaucoma.
Does high pressure inside the eye cause a pressure sensation?
The sensation of pressure inside the eye cannot be felt in most individuals. This is why the only
reliable way to detect elevated pressure inside the eye is to have it checked by your eye doctor.
The significance of this is that vision can be lost due to uncontrolled eye pressure without you
being aware that the pressure is dangerously elevated.
Are glaucoma and cataract similar or related?
Except in rare instances, cataract and glaucoma are not related but both can be present in the same
individual. Both problems become more prevalent as one gets older.
Will antiglaucoma drops affect vision?
Most drops used for the treatment of glaucoma do not have any effect on vision. However, with the use
of pilocarpine vision can be diminished, especially in patients with cataracts.
Will eye drops or glaucoma surgery improve vision?
Medical and or surgical treatment rarely improve vision. The primary goal of treatment is to preserve
vision. There is no known treatment that can restore visual loss caused by glaucoma.
Is laser surgery painful?
There is occasionally some sensation during the laser procedure but it is rarely painful. In some
cases there is irritation and inflammation for a few days following laser surgery.
Can laser surgery fail?
Laser surgery is usually done because medications failed to control glaucoma. But as with any
surgical procedure, the outcome for any particular case cannot be predicted and failure can occur.
If laser surgery does fail it can sometimes be repeated, additional medications can be used or
more extensive surgery may be recommended.
Is there pain associated filtering surgery?
There is usually some pain associated with filtering surgery but in most cases it is not severe.
There is usually some initial loss of vision associated with filtering surgery but this usually
improves with time.
Is filtering surgery safe?
In most cases the surgery is safe but as with any surgical procedure complications can occur. There
can be serious complications with significant loss of vision but this is uncommon. It is important
to remember that surgery may not control glaucoma.
What if filtering surgery fails?
There is a 20-30 percent chance that filtering surgery will fail. This is most commonly due to the
unpredictable nature of the healing process which is different for every individual. If the healing
response is too extensive then the filter will close and pressure will again elevate. If the healing
process is inadequate then too much filtration will occur and the pressure inside the eye will be too
low. Further surgery may be recommended or medications may be required to control the pressure inside
Because I have glaucoma will I eventually go blind?
In the vast majority of cases of glaucoma treatment is effective and useful vision can be preserved
throughout life. However, in a few cases even the best treatment will not prevent the onset of
After laser or other surgery will I need medications to control pressure?
About 25 percent of individuals can stop the use of medications after laser surgery.
In 50 percent of cases medications can be stopped following filtration surgery.
Is there a cure for glaucoma?
Open angle glaucoma cannot be cured but in most cases can be controlled with the preservation of
vision. Some cases of angle closure glaucoma, inflammatory glaucoma and medication induced glaucoma
can be cured but these cases represent only a minority of all glaucoma.