Glaucoma: early detection and therapy for prevention of vision loss.Am Fam Physician 1995; 52(8):2289-98, 2303-4AF
Glaucoma is the second most common cause of permanent blindness in the United States and the most common cause of blindness among blacks. It is characterized by optic atrophy and vision loss, resulting from intraocular pressure that is too high to allow normal function of the optic nerve. Examination of the optic nerve and assessment of individual risk factors aids in the identification of patients who are at risk for glaucoma. Although glaucoma is a chronic disease, ocular complications can be prevented and sight may be preserved if the disease is detected early. A combination of antiglaucoma medications, laser treatment and filtration surgery is used to maintain intraocular pressure at a level sufficient to halt progression of optic nerve injury and prevent further vision loss.