In Glaucoma there is an abnormal buildup of pressure in the eye due to a defect in the drainage of the fluid out of the eye. (This fluid is inside the eye, and is not related to excess tearing on the outside.) Glaucoma causes loss of vision due to progressive damage to the optic nerve (nerve of vision). In this condition the damage to the nerve is related to the excess pressure in the eye.
At Advanced Eyecare we offer a comprehensive system of glaucoma testing and monitoring.
When I test patients for glaucoma, I first measure the eye pressure. Because pressure can vary somewhat naturally throughout the day, a series of measurements may be needed. Sometimes this is performed over a period of several hours (Serial tonometry).
In addition, I will normally look at the area where the fluid drains out of the eye, called the trabecular meshwork, in some detail. This is painlessly done with a simple office procedure called "gonioscopy."
Thirdly, the optic nerve is periodically examined in some detail, looking for signs of damage. This can be done as part of a dilated exam, but also we take stereoscopic (3-D) photos of the nerve, and we also perform a laser scan of the nerve, which is similar to an "optical" cat scan. These tests help pick up subtle changes in the nerve structure due to damage, at an earlier stage. These are done in Runnemede
Fourthly, a "Visual Field" test is periodically performed. This allows us to directly measure and create a map of the areas where glaucoma tends to harm the vision. Sequential tests can show if the vision loss is getting worse. In glaucoma, vision loss can occur gradually before we are aware of it, and the goal of therapy is to keep it at that stage. Once we are aware of vision problems, we cannot recover the vision lost. This is done in Runnemede.
Some of these tests are performed periodically, at least once per year, and eye pressure is measured more frequently, typically every 3 months. It is important to keep up your checkups if you have or are suspected to have glaucoma, to avoid future vision loss.