Glaucoma is damage to the optic nerve, caused by increased intraocular pressure located in the front of the eye called the anterior chamber. Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness in the United States and the world. If glaucoma is left untreated the patient will progressively lose vision and can go completely blind. There are many different types of glaucoma and treatments are very individualized to each patient.
Types of Testing to Evaluate/Monitor Glaucoma
Tonometry – Checks the patient’s intraocular (eye) pressure. The higher pressure the greater the risk for glaucoma, although not all glaucoma damage occurs from high pressure.
Pachymetry – Checks the patient’s central corneal thickness. Intraocular pressure readings are affected by corneal thickness.
Gonioscopy – Checks the patient’s drainage angle. Abnormal angles may lead to risks of glaucoma.
Visual Fields – Tests to monitor for any changes with blind spots in the patient’s vision.
Optical Coherence Tomography – Scans the patient’s optic nerves for early detection or monitoring for changes. It is also able to compare each patient’s optic nerves to a “normal” database.
Optic Disc Photos – Takes a color photograph of the optic disc that is able to be compare to future photographs and monitor for changes.
Prescription Eye Drops – Drops are a first line of treatment for many patients. There are four drops most commonly used to try and help lower the eye pressure.
Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty – The laser allows the drain to work more efficiently without damaging tissue around the eye. Laser effectively works in 80% of patients but we are unable to know which group each patient is in until after the laser has been performed.
Surgery – There are several types of glaucoma surgeries.
Trabeculectomy – Creates a new opening that allows fluid to leave the eye.
Tube Shunt – An implantable device that assists with allowing fluid to leave the eye.