How is glaucoma diagnosed?
A thorough eye exam that includes careful assessment of a patient's side vision (visual field) and optic nerves is essential to diagnose glaucoma early when it is most treatable. As one of the largest and most advanced glaucoma practices in the region, the doctors at the Lincoln Eye & Laser Institute we believe it is important for our patients to have access to leading-edge technology and expertise to properly manage their glaucoma.
The Cirrus HD-OCT is the first spectral domain technology instrument to offer high definition 3D maps of individual retinal layers to reveal pathology hidden within the retinal tissue. The Cirrus also automates patient and image alignment to ensure precision and measurement reproducibility critical to glaucoma patient assessment. These advanced imaging and analysis capabilities enable physicians to more confidently diagnose patients with retinal disease and glaucoma and monitor treatment results.
Corneal pachymetry is the measurement of corneal thickness. The accuracy of the measurement of intraocular pressure can be affected by a patient's corneal thickness. People with very thick corneas might have"high pressures" but actually not be at significant risk for glaucoma. Likewise, someone with unusually thin corneas might have"normal pressures" but in reality have high pressures and require treatment. At the Lincoln Eye & Laser Institute, we measure the corneal thickness of all patients where corneal thickness could have a significant impact on the management of their glaucoma or ocular hypertension.
Other important diagnostic tests for glaucoma include visual field testing, gonioscopy, and careful assessment of the optic nerves by the doctor through a dilated pupil. Even while being treated, glaucoma can sometimes gradually progress. That is why it is so important to gather good baseline information to allow confident future comparison when the testing is periodically repeated.
How is glaucoma treated?
Glaucoma is usually treated by lowering the pressure in the eye to a level that hopefully stops progressive damage to the nerve. The first line of treatment for glaucoma is usually topical eye drop medications. Fortunately, many glaucoma drops have been developed over the last few years with several more on the horizon. We are pleased to have participated in numerous clinical research studies proving the efficacy of several new glaucoma medications. Glaucoma medications typically work by either reducing the amount of fluid produced inside the eye or by helping intraocular fluid drain out more efficiently. Some medications may actually do both. It is not uncommon to be on two or more medications at one time to treat glaucoma.
Once a patient is on two or more medications and they still need their intraocular pressures lowered more, it is likely they will need laser or other glaucoma surgery to further reduce the pressure in the eye if it is needed.