Glaucoma is currently the world's second leading cause of blindness. More than 66 million people around the world are affected by glaucoma.New research suggests doctors need to do more than just measure pressure in the eye when screening people for glaucoma. Researchers say examination of the optic nerve is the most effective way to determine whether or not someone has early stage glaucoma.
Researchers say instead of doctors just looking at the retinal nerve fiber layer and visual functioning when making a diagnosis of glaucoma they can also use new imaging and psychophysical tests to improve detection and monitoring of the disease .Finding the glaucoma in its earliest stages is important because the condition can be easily treated with eye drops. Unfortunately, glaucoma often goes undetected until it has already caused visual disability or even blindness.
The risk of developing glaucoma increases as people get older. Researchers say people with a first-degree relative with glaucoma are up to eight-times more likely to get glaucoma than those in the general population. Glaucoma is also associated with visual field abnormalities , severe nearsightedness, and a family history of the condition.