Glaucoma is a disease that causes damage to the optic nerve and can lead to blindness or loss of vision.
- Glaucoma is not a single disease but a group of conditions with various causes that ultimately are associated with progressive damage to the optic nerve and subsequent loss of visual function.
- Glaucoma has been called the "Sneak Thief of Sight" because progressive damage to the optic nerve often results with no symptoms.
- Once optic nerve damage has occurred, it can not be reversed with treatment.
- The key to effective management of this condition is early identification and diagnosis of those patients who are at risk.
- Glaucoma is the third most common cause of blindness in the United States with over 80,000 Americans blind from Glaucoma. It has been estimated that less than half the patients who have glaucoma have actually been diagnosed as having glaucoma.
Damage to the eye's optic nerve
Symptoms:Unfortunately, there are no symptoms assosicated with glaucoma until the optic nerve is damaged and peripheral (side) vision is lost. It is extremely important to get tested for glaucoma regularly.
- Open angle glaucoma (chronic glaucoma) When high pressure in the eye is detected causing damage to the optical nerve and impairing vision
- Low-tension or Normal tension When the optic nerve is damaged despite seemingly normal pressure levels
- Closed-angle The iris and lens essentially stick together, preventing fluid flow from the eye
- Secondary Glaucoma An injury such as being hit in the eye by a baseball
Diagnosis:Major factors in determining if a patient has glaucoma:
Eye Pressure (Intraocular Pressure)
- Intraocular pressure is often elevated (pressure of 12 and 22mm of Mercury is considered a normal level)
- Decrease in the ability of the eye to adequately drain the intraocular fluid
Peripheral Visual Fields
- Decrease in the sensitivity of the visual field (peripheral vision)
- Subtle changes in the visual field test may be an early sign of the development of glaucoma
- Damage to the optic nerve
Other Risk Factors
- Family history of glaucoma
- The presence of other eye diseases which may secondarily result in glaucoma or elevated pressure
- Eye Drops
- Laser Treatments
If found early on, permanent damage can be minimized or even avoided. Damages cannot be reversed.
Routine eye exams with monitoring of intraocular pressure and a dilated examination of the optic nerve are the best methods to detect glaucoma. This is particularly important in patients over the age of 60 and in those patients who have a family history of glaucoma. Regular visits to your family optometrist will ensure a lifetime of healthy eyes and good vision.
Family Eyecare of Roswell is proud to announce that we now have new state of the art equipment which is considered the gold standard in early detection of Glaucoma.
GDx™ – Precise RNFL analysis for glaucoma case detection, diagnosis, and management.