Glaucoma is an eye disease the damages the optic nerve and leads to loss of side vision and sometimes may lead to blindness.
Traditionally it was thought the damage was due to high eye pressure. In the last few years we have learned that some people suffer damage even with “normal eye pressure” and some people suffer no damage with “high eye pressure”. Although the eye pressure may not be the cause for the damage it is the only variable we can control so treatment consists of drops to lower the pressure. Sometimes surgical procedures are also used to control the disease.
As the disease progresses there are changes in the optic nerve appearance, but some people have optic nerves with a similar appearance even though they do not have glaucoma.
For both these reasons it is sometimes difficult to really tell if the person has glaucoma. These people are referred to a glaucoma suspect’s.
W hen enough damage has been done to the optic nerve, visual fields will be affected and visual field testing is used to find these defects.
In the last few years a new technology (Ocular Coherence Tomography or OCT) has been developed which can find glaucoma much earlier than we could previously.