Tests and Treatment for Glaucoma

As we get older, we lose retinal ganglion cells and our retinal nerve fiber layer gets thinner. However, in glaucoma, these ganglion cells are lost more quickly and peripheral vision can be affected. The vast majority of glaucoma patients will not experience severe vision loss. Lowering eye pressure by 20% with eye drops decreases the risk of glaucoma by 50%, especially in those at high risk. Risk factors include African and Asian descent, older age, family history (10x the risk), near-sightedness, diabetes, hypertension, sleep apnea, blood disorders, and autoimmune diseases.

Most cases can be managed with eye drops and additional testing every 3 months to monitor for changes. These drops are safe, inexpensive, and effective in slowing down glaucoma! Stay on prescribed eyedrops every day!

If your glaucoma progresses rapidly with treatment, you will be referred to a glaucoma specialist.

Dr. Shin provides the following tests in her office:

__OCT testing: Optical coherence tomography (OCT) is like a dental X-ray for the optic nerve. OCT displays a cross-sectional analysis, not just the view of its surface. OCT evaluates the retinal ganglion cells and the retinal nerve fiber layer. Fee: Baseline is included in exam; subsequent scans: $39

___Visual Field Testing: Visual field testing is one of the important diagnostic tests for glaucoma. During this test, you will look straight ahead into a lighted bowl and respond every time a light is flashed at different points of your peripheral vision. Fee: $60

___Corneal Thickness: People with thin corneas (500 or less) are at a higher risk for glaucoma. Fee: included in exam

___Fundus Photography: Optic nerve photographs are taken using a retinal camera. Documentation of the optic nerve and retinal nerve fiber layer through photography is invaluable in the diagnosis and management of glaucoma. Fee: $60

___ Intraocular Pressure (IOP) testing is used for detecting and monitoring glaucoma. IOP averages between 12-22 mm Hg, but can fluctuate during the day and are the HIGHEST while asleep. Fee: included in exam

It is important to keep your follow-up appointments and stay on prescribed treatment!

Did you know that healthy diet and lifestyle can have an impact on glaucoma? The following can help slow down progression: 30 minutes exercise/day; 2 cups of caffeinated tea daily; leafy greens/vegetables; Vitamin C.

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