Glaucoma is a gradually progressive disease which, if left untreated can cause impairment of the visual field. This means that a person with untreated glaucoma gradually looses vision to the sides and may be unable to see objects that are normally highly visible in the field of vision.
The disease is caused by optic nerve damage, the nerve that extends from the eye to the brain. Often glaucoma is associated with elevated intraocular pressure (pressure inside the eye, similar to tire pressure), but it is not always.
It is thought that the optic nerve of persons with glaucoma is sensitive to intraocular pressure elevation or changes and is slowly and progressively damaged. Gradually, the field of vision narrows and the eyesight can look like a tunnel vision. If nothing is done, the middle vision gets worse and the person can become blind.
Glaucoma was one of the most common causes of blindness in Iceland in years before, so now many people are familiar with the term glaucoma. With improved treatment, glaucoma can be detected at the initial stage of the disease and usually treated with just eye drops.
Diagnosis and treatment
Sjónlag has the most advanced device in Iceland for the analysis of glaucoma, a visual field analyzer. The device can detect visual field damage due to glaucoma with high precision even in the early stages of the disease. Among other things, this machine has "blue-on-yellow" analysis that detects glaucoma in its earliest stages. In addition to visual field measurements, it is important to examine the optic nerve accurately with a dilated eye exam. We also have OCT capabilites to map the optic nerve and changes to the nerve fiber layer.
In addition, ocular pressure is measured and recorded, and it is important to measure the thickness of the cornea. If the patient is diagnosed with glaucoma, eye drops have been initiated which lower the intraocular pressure. In most cases, treatment with drops alone is sufficient, but in some cases it is insufficient. We can also offer laser treatment to increase the outflow of the eye fluid from the eye through a special tunnel, using an argon laser, this procedure is called a trabeculoplasty. Rarely, ocular pressure can not be controlled by drugs or laser therapy. Then surgery can be performed, as the production of the eye fluid is increased, a drainage tube can be places, this surgery is called a trabeculectomy.
Significant progress has been made over the last few decades in the diagnosis and treatment of glaucoma. In fact, ophthalmologists can almost completely prevent blindness caused by this formerly devastating disease.