Glaucoma is an eye disease characterized by a gradual & progressive damage to the optic nerve, which can lead to loss of vision. It is a leading cause of irreversible blindness. The major risk factor for glaucoma is an elevated pressure in the eye (intra-ocular pressure, or IOP); ethnicity, heredity, gender and age are other significant risk factors. The most common type is primary open angle glaucoma (nicknamed “the sneak-thief of sight” because it is so insidious); there are also several other types.
The sooner glaucoma is detected and treated, the less risk there is of serious vision loss. Glaucoma is usually treated with eye-drop medications with good success, but occasionally requires laser treatment or other surgery. By far the most common reason for serious vision loss from glaucoma is self-neglect: failure to be diagnosed, or failure to adhere to examination and treatment regimens. So it is important to have regular periodic eye exams by a competent and conscientious physician.
At ESA we have many patients whom we follow carefully and treat for glaucoma and suspicion of it, and employ eye-examinations plus modern technology [all in our offices] to monitor the status of the optic nerves and the IOP — including computer-controlled visual field testing and computed laser tomography of the nerves. Many have been patients of ours for over twenty years, and most retain good vision if they cooperate with their follow-up visits and treatment.