- generally painless
- no obvious symptoms
- Farsighted vision
- Asian race
- iris bows forward
- obstruction to drainage angle
- fluid backs up
- intraocular pressure rises
Diagnostic Tests for Glaucoma
- ophthalmoscopic evaluation of the optic nerve
- fundus photographs of the optic nerve
- tonometry to measure the intraocular pressure
- corneal thickness measurements
- visual field examination
- retinal laser scans
- pupillary examination
- electrodiagnostic examination
- gonioscopy, anterior segment imaging, or ophthalmic ultrasound to evaluate the internal structures of the eye
An abnormally high IOP reading indicates a problem with the amount of fluid inside the eye. Either the eye is producing too much fluid, or it’s not draining properly.
Another method for detecting or monitoring glaucoma is the use of instruments to create images of the eye’s optic nerve and then repeating this imaging over time to see if changes to the optic nerve are taking place, which might indicate progressive glaucoma damage. Instruments used for this purpose include scanning laser polarimetry (SLP), optical coherence tomography (OCT), and confocal scanning laser ophthalmoscopy.
Visual field testing is another way to monitor whether blind spots are developing in your field of vision from glaucoma damage to the optic nerve. Visual field testing involves staring straight ahead into an instrument and pushing a button when you see a blinking light in your visual field. The test may be repeated at regular intervals so your eye doctor can determine if there is progressive vision loss.
Anterior segment imaging or ultrasound biomicroscopy may be used to evaluate how well fluids flow through the eye’s internal structures. Gonioscopy is the use of special lenses that allow your eye doctor to visually inspect internal eye structures that control fluid drainage.
Treatment of Glaucoma
Depending on the severity of the disease, treatment for glaucoma can involve the use of medications, laser surgery, or intraocular surgery. Medicated eye drops aimed at lowering intraocular pressure are usually tried first to treat glaucoma.
Because glaucoma is often painless, people may become careless about the regular use of eye drops that can decrease eye pressure and help prevent permanent eye damage. In fact, non-compliance with a program of prescribed glaucoma medication is a major risk factor that contributes to people going blind from glaucoma.
If you find that the eye drops you are using for glaucoma are uncomfortable or inconvenient, never discontinue them without first consulting your eye doctor about a possible alternative therapy.
All glaucoma surgery procedures (whether laser or non-laser) are designed to accomplish one of two basic results: decrease the production of intraocular fluid or increase the outflow (drainage) of this same fluid. Occasionally, a procedure will accomplish both.
Currently the goal of glaucoma surgery and other glaucoma therapy is to reduce or stabilize intraocular pressure. When this goal is accomplished, damage to ocular structures – especially the optic nerve – may be prevented.