Common Eye Conditions Glaucoma

Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a common eye disease that damages the optic nerve. It is associated with increased pressure in the eye due to buildup of fluids in the eye. Undiagnosed and untreated it causes loss of side (peripheral) vision initially and eventually can progress to total blindness.

Fortunately, treatment with medications and if necessary, surgery, controls this disease quite successfully and can prevent vision loss.

Glaucoma is often called "the silent thief" as it can rob patients of vision without any symptoms. There is usually no redness, no pain, no blurring of central vision. The patient usually finds out they have glaucoma during routine eye examinations. This makes it very important that all patients get into the habit of regular eye examinations especially those who have a family history of glaucoma, diabetes, use corticosteroid medications, or are over the age of 50. The important thing is to catch it early, as there is no treatment to bring back what vision is lost. Treatment only maintains what vision is left.

What tests do we do to detect glaucoma?

Ophthalmoscopy We examine the inside structures of the eye including the appearance of the optic nerve which appears pale and damaged in glaucoma.

Gonioscopy We use a special lens to examine the drainage angles of the eyes. This is a very common test in the initial evaluation of suspected glaucoma.

The Perkins has been established for well over 30 years as a world standard for hand held applanation tonometers. Based on Goldmann principles and utilizing the original Goldmann or Tonosafe disposable prisms, the Perkins combines proven technology with the flexibility of a hand held instrument.

Tonometry We use a Perkins tonometer to measure the pressure in the eye (intraocular pressure or IOP). Normal intraocular pressure is usually between 10 and 20 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). People with glaucoma often have elevated readings over 21mm Hg.

Cornea thickness We use an ultrasound pachymeter to measure the thickness of the front surface of the eye (cornea). Corneal thickness, along with intraocular pressure, helps determine your risk of developing glaucoma.

Visual Field Testing In screening for glaucoma and during follow-up monitoring, one of the most valuable tests is visual field testing (also called perimetry testing). We use an autoperimeter to look for and measure loss of side (peripheral) vision that is caused by glaucoma.

Optical Coherence Tomography The Zeiss Tomographer is highly sophisticated equipment that scans the optic nerve and measures the thickness of the optic nerve. Loss of nerve thickness is the earliest and most accurate diagnostic test for glaucoma. This has become the standard of care in detection and monitoring of glaucoma in North America and Europe and we are proud to have introduced this technology to Armenia.