Glaucoma is a disease of the optic nerve that can lead to vision loss and even blindness. Because glaucoma usually develops slowly and without any symptoms, routine eye exams are extremely important in detecting this disease before it damages your vision. Comprehensive dilated eye exams are the best way to detect glaucoma; a glaucoma screening that checks only the pressure of the eye is not sufficient.
If you are diagnosed with glaucoma or if you have risk factors for glaucoma, your doctor may ask you to return for additional testing. These tests may include: visual fields, optic nerve analysis through use of a scanning laser, gonioscopy to assess the drainage structure of the eye, optic nerve photos, and a corneal thickness measurement. The results are analyzed by the doctor to determine the diagnosis, severity, and course of treatment.
When detected and treated at an early stage, glaucoma can be controlled. For most people, eye drops are the primary treatment. However, laser surgery and surgery in the operating room are sometimes necessary to help prevent further damage. In some cases, oral medications may be prescribed. Dr. Elmquist, Dr. Wagner, or Dr. Burt will discuss treatment options with you.