Current management of glaucoma

Jed Lusthaus and Ivan Goldberg
Med J Aust 2019; 210 (4): . || doi: 10.5694/mja2.50020
Published online: 4 March 2019



  • Glaucoma is an irreversible progressive optic neuropathy, for which the major proven treatment is to lower the intraocular pressure (IOP).
  • Five groups of IOP‐lowering eye drops have varying mechanisms of action. Some drops, such as β‐blockers and α‐2 agonists, have potentially serious systemic side effects. Acetazolamide is the only available oral agent; it is effective at lowering IOP, but significant side effects relegate its use usually to refractory glaucoma.
  • Two new eye drops, netarsudil and latanoprostene bunod, have recently been approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration. Both have novel IOP‐lowering mechanisms and target the conventional aqueous outflow system.
  • Selective laser trabeculoplasty is a gentle treatment that enhances conventional aqueous outflow. It may be used as an initial treatment, as a substitute for eye drops, or to delay glaucoma drainage surgery.
  • Recent advancements in glaucoma surgery have seen an influx of minimally invasive glaucoma surgery devices, which are being used more frequently and earlier on in the treatment paradigm. As limited long term data are available, trabeculectomy remains the gold standard IOP‐lowering procedure. Improvements in drug delivery are on the horizon. Drug‐eluting devices and implants are able to deliver the drug closer to the receptors for an extended period of time. This will improve treatment adherence and efficacy, which are major limitations with current medical therapy.


  • Jed Lusthaus1,2
  • Ivan Goldberg1,2

  • 1 University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW
  • 2 Sydney Hospital and Sydney Eye Hospital, Sydney, NSW


Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.


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