Glaucoma can’t be cured, but if caught early, its progression can be slowed.
Treatments may include:
- Medication: A variety of medications are used to treat glaucoma, from those that reduce the fluidity of the eye and others that help drain excess fluid.
- Surgery: A surgeon can create a new opening for fluid to flow out of the eye.
- Laser surgery: Laser surgery provides a less invasive way to treat glaucoma, often with a faster recovery time.
- Tube shunt: A flexible plastic tube can be inserted in the eye to drain fluid.
- Low-vision treatments: Certain adaptive devices can help you regain the ability to enjoy daily activities.
Northwestern Medicine discovers new treatments
Scientists at the Northwestern Medicine Feinberg Cardiovascular Research Institute have discovered key pathways that are revealing the mechanisms of glaucoma.
Glaucoma can cause blindness when clogged fluid in the eye destroys retina cells and the optic nerve. The build up is connected to defective vessels called Schlemm’s canals. The Northwestern study identified “lock and key” proteins that, when missing, prevent the production of Schlemm’s canals for proper drainage.
With this new knowledge, Northwestern Medicine scientists are developing eye drops to help grow bigger Schlemm’s canals. The team hopes to lower the pressure in the eye by draining clogged fluid through the new canals, potentially offering a cure for glaucoma.