Carol C. is a 65 year old energetic and young “senior” at our practice. You would never guess that she is now of Medicare age by looking at her and understanding what an active lifestyle she leads. She recently visited our practice for her annual comprehensive eye examination and contact lens evaluation visit. As part of the ocular health assessment we measured her eye fluid pressure and to our surprise there was a dramatic increase vs. her results a year ago. We then over the subsequent weeks conducted a number of specific diagnostic tests to determine her risk for developing glaucoma optic nerve damage. Based on the outcomes of these tests we determined that her risk for developing glaucoma and possible permanent vision loss was significant and therefore we began therapy with the use of topical eye drops which are taken once per day in each eye to significantly reduce her internal eye fluid pressure. We expect that Carol will never experience vision loss from glaucoma as long as we are able to continue keep her eye pressure in safe levels with medication.
Glaucoma increased eye pressure results in damage to the optic nerve.
Recent studies suggest that those patients with higher risk for glaucomatous optic nerve damage should receive treatment and then their risk for vision loss is far lower vs. observation without treatment. However, there are many people who may have increased eye pressure but do not have other risk factors for glaucoma development. These patients may not have better long term outcomes with the use of medications vs. simple close observation. According to a study published in the March issue of the Archives of Ophthalmology, eye doctors can sometimes wait before treating those patients with few risk factors for developing glaucoma other than increased eye fluid pressure (intraocular pressure or “IOP”). The key is assessment of glaucoma risk factors that is made by your eye doctor. Only via regular eye examinations can your doctor detect the presence of these risk factors. Since glaucoma causes NO SYMPTOMS until it is very advanced and very difficult to treat, it is critical for people to have regular comprehensive eye examinations.
Glaucoma Risk Factors:
Elevated intraocular fluid pressure, advancing age (especially over 40), family history of glaucoma, thin central corneal thickness, specific anatomical optic nerve findings, specific decreases in peripheral light sensitivity, certain general health problems (diabetes, high blood pressure, and others), + other risk factors that your eye doctor can assess. For more info on glaucoma visit www.nsvc.com
Advanced Technologies in Glaucoma Management:
Corneal thickness measure with Pentacam at NSVCTopcon OCT 3D 2000 optic nerve and nerve fiber layer analysis