Glaucoma Diagnosis and Treatment
Glaucoma Symptoms & Diagnosis
While some patients may experience symptoms from glaucoma as the disease progresses, others do not learn they have the condition until they undergo a routine eye exam. There are several different exams performed to diagnose glaucoma, including a visual field and visual acuity test. These tests measure peripheral vision and how well patients can see at various distances. Other tests may also be performed, such as tonometry to measure the pressure inside the eye, pachymetry to measure the thickness of the cornea, and Ocular Coherence Tomography (OCT) to measure the thickness of the nerve fiber layer. The good news is that glaucoma can be treated successfully. Regular follow up with measurement of eye pressure, visual field examinations, and optic nerve evaluation along with compliance with medical therapy are essential to maintaining good vision.
Treatment for Glaucoma
Once glaucoma has been diagnosed, treatment should begin as soon as possible to help minimize the risk of permanent vision loss. There is no cure for glaucoma, so treatment focuses on relieving symptoms and preventing further damage from occurring. Most cases of glaucoma can be treated with eye drops, laser surgery or microsurgery. The best treatment for your individual case depends on the type and severity of the disease and can be discussed with your doctor.
- Eye drops are used to reduce fluid production in the front of the eye or to help drain excess fluid but can lead to redness, stinging, irritation or blurry vision. Patients should tell their doctor about any allergies they have to minimize the risk of side effects.
- Laser surgery for glaucoma aims to increase the outflow of fluid from the eye or eliminate fluid blockages through laser trabeculoplasty (SLT / ALT), iridotomy or cyclophotocoagulation.
- Microsurgery involves a surgical procedure called a trabeculectomy, which creates a new channel to drain fluid from the eye and reduce the pressure that causes glaucoma. Surgery is often performed after medication and laser procedures have failed. Trabeculectomy can now be performed more precisely with the use of a stent called an ExPress Mini Shunt. This mini shunt standardizes the flow of fluid out of the eye and decreases the side effects of glaucoma surgery.