Normal Aging or Glaucoma?

As we get older, we lose 7000 retinal ganglion axons/year for 40% lost over a lifetime. This is .5% of your visual function lost every year!  Thinning of retinal nerve fiber layer surrounding our optic nerve and in the macula/retina is like thinning hair and receding gums with age.  
  In glaucoma, these ganglion cells are lost more quickly which can result in peripheral vision loss. The challenge is to differentiate normal aging and diagnose true glaucoma, which involves consistent examination, careful documentation, and advanced technology.
  The vast majority of glaucoma patients (95%) progress slightly more than normal aging: -.06 db/year vs -.06 to -1.0 dB/year. However, 4% progress greater than -1.0 dB/year, while 1% progress greater than -2.0 dB/year.
Most glaucoma cases can be managed with eye drops and testing every 3-4 months to monitor for changes. These drops are safe, inexpensive, and effective in keeping glaucoma progression slow. If you are a “rapid progressor” (5% of all glaucoma) even with eyedrops, you may be a candidate for surgical intervention, such as Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT).  

%d bloggers like this: