Glaucoma is a series of related eye diseases that all affect the health of the optic nerve, that usually go on to cause blindness if left untreated, and are almost always completely without symptoms. The chief hallmark is damage to the tissue of the optic nerve, with resulting loss of vision. The patient’s eye pressure is often, but not always measured to be high. In fact, recent studies show that a high percentage of patients with glaucoma NEVER register a statistically high eye pressure. The typical treatment includes one or more of many different medicated eye drops, though some cases go on to require laser treatment, and on rare occasions, invasive surgery. The key to preventing vision loss due to glaucoma is EARLY DIAGNOSIS.
While the eye pressure is one component of glaucoma testing, it is important not to rely on it alone in determining whether or not you or a loved one has glaucoma. A thorough glaucoma work up includes several key tests.
OCT or Optical Coherence Tomography is a critical tool for diagnosing glaucoma. It provides the following assessments:
- Corneal thickness mapping (similar to pacymetry, but the whole cornea)
- Anterior Segment Angle Measurement (similar to gonioscopy, but allows numerical measurement of structures
- Ganglion Cell Analysis – can reveal glaucoma up to six years earlier than any other method testing.
- Optical nerve head and nerve fiber layer mapping
- Macula nerve fiber layer mapping
- See iVue OCTfor more information
Computerized Visual Fields Testing
Clear View Vision Care utilizes the Haag Streit Octopus 301, which is setting the trend in perimeter for the next decade. Ideal for routine screening and threshold examinations, the proven performance, accuracy and quality of the 301 is the state of the art.
- See Octopus Visual Fields for more information
Gonioscopy is the visualization the anterior chamber of the eye and the drainage angle where the intra-ocular fluid leaves the eye. A contact lens like device is placed against the cornea which allows the Doctor to look for narrowing of the angle, obstructions in the angle, and pigmentation. It is a painless and vital test during the glaucoma work up.
Pachymetry is the measurement of the thickness of the cornea, the clear tissue on the front of the eye. Recent research shows that the thickness of the cornea is highly predictive of who is at risk for damage due to glaucoma.
Tonometry, also known as the eye pressure test, is the final component of a thorough glaucoma examination. Historically thought to be “the glaucoma test”, research has shown it to be just one component of a larger picture.
Dr. Jeffrey F. Martin has been certified by the Texas Board of Optometry as a Glaucoma Specialist, having passed an exhaustive certification process including a proctored examination by the University of Houston, Houston, Texas. Dr. Martin has been treating Glaucoma as a part of his practice since 1993.