What are the glaucoma treatment risks?

What are the glaucoma treatment risks? Like any procedure, glaucoma treatment carries risks.

Glaucoma treatment risks for eye drops

With glaucoma eye drops, the risks are usually allergic reactions or hypersensitive reactions which can easily be reversed with counter drops or by changing the prescription.

Glaucoma treatment risks for laser surgery

Now with regards to laser surgery, the risk of side effects are very minimal. Typically, the more common side effects include redness, irritation and a bit of light sensitivity. Some patients have a slight headache for a few hours or for a day which resolves either without any treatment or even just by taking over-the-counter drops.

Glaucoma treatment risks for surgery

Surgery carries a more significant potential for risk, and here we weigh the risks versus the benefits very carefully with the patient. Patients with very advanced glaucoma who are not doing very well on drops and laser need to have surgery. Otherwise, if left untreated, they will go irreversibly blind. The risk of severe complications like infection, bleeding and a condition we call choroidal detachment are very rare, but they do exist. We caution patients about these complications before embarking on operations for glaucoma. The reaction to anything is by and large overwhelmingly positive and patients do very well following surgery with better control of eye pressure and no side effects.


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About the author

Leonard Teye-Botchway
Consultant Ophthalmic Physician and Surgeon |MBChB, FRCS(G), MBA, FWACS, FGCS, DCEH (Lond), Postgraduate Diploma in Cataracts and Refractive Surgery

I am Leonard Teye-Botchway and I am the Medical Director and Consultant Ophthalmologist at Bermuda International Institute of Ophthalmology in Bermuda. The joy and elation I get from seeing patients who are very happy they can see after surgery is almost unimaginable. This is what really drives me to carry on being an ophthalmologist.

We have sourced some or all of the content on this page from The American Academy of Ophthalmology, with permission.