I’M A GLAUCOMA “SUSPECT” – WHAT’S THAT? By Dr. Martha Jay, Ophthalmologist at Lakeshore Eye Care Professionals with offices in Mequon & Saukville, Wisconsin
Have you been told that you are a glaucoma suspect? Have you wondered “What is it, do I or do I not have glaucoma?” Unfortunately the diagnosis of glaucoma is not cut and dry. There is a grey area which occurs when some aspects of your examination are suggestive of glaucoma but you do not actually have the condition. Those in that situation are considered glaucoma suspects.
What we are monitoring are your eye pressure, the appearance of the optic nerve in the back of the eye and your side vision. The optic nerve looks like a saucer with an inside part and an outside part. The inside part in a “normal” patient is generally 30% or less than the outside part and stable over time. Your eye pressure should generally be less than 21 mm Hg. If either an optic nerve problem is noted or an elevated eye pressure detected, further testing may be indicated.
By further testing, we generally mean the visual field computer test. You look into a large dish and push a button when you see a small light. This measures just how bright lights have to be for you to see them in all parts of your side vision. This test is important as glaucoma vision loss starts in the periphery and it does not become apparent to patients until they have lost up to 40%.
If we do decide that you have converted from a glaucoma suspect to an actual glaucoma patient, the condition is easily treated generally with eye drops. Does that make more sense to you “suspects” out there? We know that the visual field tests are not particularly popular but, as noted above, they are critical for glaucoma monitoring.
Dr. Martha Jay is a board certified Ophthalmologist (Eye Physician & Surgeon) who specializes in small incision cataract surgery and blade-free LASIK. For more eye care information, call 262-241-1919 or visit www.LakeShoreVision.com.