When Glaucoma Causes Devastating Vision Loss

by Dr. Luu

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Glaucoma Research Foundation

I had a new 30 year old patient come in for an eye exam.   There were no complaints reported and vision was 20/20 in both eyes.   The patient reported that vision had always been clear.   Intraocular pressures were measured 30mm Hg in both eyes, which is higher than normal.  Dilated eye exam revealed damaged optic nerves in both eyes.   Peripheral vision testing showed significant vision loss due to end stage glaucoma.

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Mr. Gareth T Higgins, Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

Visual loss from glaucoma results from characteristic deterioration of the optic nerve leading to progressive loss of the field of vision. At least 3 million Americans suffer from glaucoma. Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of adult blindness, and it is also the leading cause of preventable blindness. Most people who go blind from glaucoma are blind in at least one eye at the time of original detection, which points to the need for better early diagnosis. Because glaucoma usually does not manifest any symptoms until extensive peripheral visual loss becomes apparent in the final stages of the disease, it is often likened to the “sneak thief of sight.” Unlike most eye diseases, most varieties of glaucoma are chronic, virtually lifelong disorders than can be controlled but not cured. Like diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma, or arthritis, glaucoma requires some modification in lifestyle, such as compliance with medical regimens, regular physician visits, and acknowledgment of the disease to achieve successful treatment.  READ MORE