If you have a direct relative; mother, father, brother or sister whom has been diagnosed with glaucoma, this means that you are at greater risk, than someone in the general population, of also developing the condition. Glaucoma can be such an insidious disease, in that it is impossible to predict, whom in a family might also develop it, hence the reason for having to schedule everyone in the family, annually, for investigation.
There are three main avenues of investigation, which at The Lacey Practice, we can embark upon, under the "umbrella" of optometric care, before referring you on to medical care.
The first of these is the "air puff" (tonometry), which everyone finds strange, but over the last 25 years had radically improved early identification of glaucoma in this country
The second is, the "field of view exam" (visual field exam), where you look at flashing lights to check your peripheral vision. In glaucoma, a person can be going blind in their peripheral vision, without realising the fact - hence we have to specifically look for this
The third is, using the same instruments as eye doctors', we examine the part of your eye where the optic nerve arrives, from the brain (optic nerve head). By using an instrument, where the optometrist uses both eyes, rather than the more old fashioned "torch" method, assessment of a patient's optic nerve head can be made in three dimensions, rather than the older fashioned two dimensions
At The Lacey Practice, we go another three steps further, before we send you to see a glaucoma specialist, to try to ensure we are not wasting your time and to give the doctor the most optometric information, which is practicable.
The first of these is that we assess the space between your iris (coloured part of your eye) and the innermost side of your cornea (the clear part you see through) - this is called you anterior angle. The method we use is called the van Herick technique
The second is that we will repeat the pressure measurements, of your eyes, at different times of the day, using the same design of instrument, as used in hospitals, but different to the "air puff", to ensure you are not being referred unnecessarily
The third is that we will repeat your visual fields exams, to make sure that they are consistent, as this type of exam can elicit different results as you perform it, as you become more familiar with the technique (learning curve)