As we mentioned previously, if a patient has:
1) abnormal optic nerve head,
2) elevated eye pressure, and or
3) a family history of glaucoma, we will run further tests. Plus, we highly recommend two additional tests for diagnosis of glaucoma.
The two additional Glaucoma tests are:
1) OCT: This test measures the thickness of people’s optic nerves. It shows us the condition of the optic nerve. If the fibers are thinning out, then the person has a high probability that the fibers are getting damaged and that they are on their way to having glaucoma.
2) The Visual Field Test: This test measures the peripheral vision. the patient will cover one eye and the computer will adjust the light intensity in the person’s peripheral vision. Then the machine will calculate how well they see light in their peripheral vision. Taking into account the person’s other eye issues, like cataracts, etc...the computer will give us a print out of the peripheral vision. If someone is missing peripheral vision they are already at the stage of having glaucoma.
Glaucoma can start at any age. Generally speaking, the age group of most concern is 60 years and older. As for demographics, African American's are more prone to contracting glaucoma than Asians and Caucasians.
Treatment for glaucoma centers around controlling the eye pressure with special eye drops. The elevated eye pressure is what causes the damage to the optic nerve fibers. We are trying to relieve the pressure inside of the eye.
Each individual has a different target pressure that is healthy and normal for them. This range is where we believe the nerve fibers will be not be damaged or the damage will be minimized to its fullest. This is why there isn't a certain number of eye pressure we are looking for. We must determine each individuals eye pressure accordingly.
There are also laser and more invasive surgeries which may be necessary. Please remember, glaucoma is disease that truly sneaks up on people and this is why it's so very important to have routine eye exams, because people will not pick up on it on their own.