Glaucoma is a disease of the optic nerve. Damage to the optic nerve prevents visual information from moving from the eye to the brain, resulting in a loss of vision. This vision loss is permanent. Early detection and proper treatment is required to prevent this vision loss, there is no cure for Glaucoma.
Patients who have Glaucoma may or may not have an elevated pressure inside of the eye. The signs that cause concern about possible Glaucoma are changes to the health of the optic nerve, an increase in the pressure in the eye or a change in the patient’s visual field. None of these are detectable by the patient, unless the damage is so severe that the patient is close to legally blind. The only way to detect this disease is through a complete eye examination.
When a patient is determined to be at risk for Glaucoma, there are several tests that are performed, sometimes more than once to insure an accurate and proper diagnosis of the disease or to determine that the patient does not have Glaucoma. These tests include a Visual Field examination, repeat measurements of the intraocular pressure and measurements of the optic nerve and retinal thickness with a device referred to as a “Scanning Laser Ophthalmoscope”.
As you can see, Glaucoma is a complex condition. To insure that you and your loved ones don’t allow Glaucoma to cause permanent vision loss, be sure to have an eye exam once per year, even if your vision seems perfectly normal. Normal vision does not indicate normal eye health.