There are many forms of glaucoma and together they are the third major cause of blindness in the United States. Glaucoma is a condition of the eye in which the intraocular pressure exceeds the tolerance of the eye. This often results in irreversible blindness through progressive loss of one's field of vision. Glaucoma may develop at any age, but is more prevalent in the elderly. Most people with glaucoma are unaware of their problem, and experience no symptoms while their vision is slowly and progressively damaged. However, if glaucoma is detected and the intraocular pressure is reduced, the progression of blindness can be controlled.
Because glaucoma is often without warning signs, early diagnosis depends heavily on the routine measurement of the intraocular pressure, examination of the optic nerve and visual field. Early diagnosis is critical because once the retinal axons of the nerve are damaged they cannot be restored. The measurement of intraocular pressure alone is not adequate because many patients with glaucoma have normal pressures at various times throughout the day. The most common form of glaucoma is classified as open angle glaucoma and it does not have any warning signs. It is recommended that people over the age of 40 have annual eye exams that include assessment of the optic nerve, retina and the visual field in addition to measuring intraocular pressure. In our office we utilize the most advanced technology such as the GDX, VF, OCT, and Visante to diagnose and manage glaucoma.