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Healthcare: Eye Care (Ophthalmology & Optometry)

Glaucoma

Master
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What is glaucoma?

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Glaucoma is the name for a group of eye diseases that damage the optic nerve. This nerve carries information from the eye to the brain. When the nerve is damaged, you can lose your vision.

Glaucoma is one of the most common causes of legal blindness in the world. At first, people with glaucoma lose side (peripheral) vision. But if the disease isn't treated, vision loss may get worse. It can lead to total blindness over time.

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How is glaucoma diagnosed?

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Early detection and treatment of glaucoma are important for controlling the condition and preventing blindness.

When checking for possible glaucoma, your primary care doctor will ask about your past health and do a physical exam. If your doctor thinks you may have glaucoma, he or she will refer you to an ophthalmologist. Our experts will check your eyes to help find out if you have the disease and how severe it is. We will look for certain signs of damage in the eye by checking things like:

  • Eye structure.
    • Ophthalmoscopy, gonioscopy, slit lamp exam, and optic coherence tomography all check the structures of the eye.
  • Eye pressure.
    • Tonometry measures the pressure in the eye (intraocular pressure, or IOP).
  • Vision.
    • Vision tests include tests to check for visual acuity and loss of side and central vision (perimetry testing).
  • Cornea thickness.
    • Tests such as ultrasound pachymetry measure the thickness of the clear front surface of the eye (cornea). Cornea thickness, along with intraocular pressure, helps determine your risk for glaucoma.

After glaucoma is diagnosed, eye exams are done on a regular basis to check on the disease. A low-vision assessment may also be done. It's done to help find ways that you can make the most of the vision you still have and maintain your quality of life.