Glaucoma is an eye condition or more accurately a group of eye conditions – affecting over 60 million people worldwide (2.7 million Americans). Glaucoma typically stems from increased intraocular pressure (IOP) leading to damage of the optic nerve, which is responsible for carrying visual signals to the brain, and vision loss.
Normal eye pressure is 12-21 mm Hg. Anything above 21 is considered elevated.
What is a Glaucoma Suspect?
The presence of increased IOP does not necessarily mean an individual will develop glaucoma, it simply means that they may be more likely to develop glaucoma. There is a large group of people called “ocular hypertensives,” which have increased IOP, but do not suffer the optic nerve damage associated with glaucoma. This is also what we mean by Glaucoma Suspect – someone who has signs of glaucoma, like increased IOP, but lacks others, like optic nerve damage or a visual field defect.
“It’s like all of the players are on the field, but the game has not started,” explained April Pevear, a Patient Care Specialist at Anne Arundel Eye Center.
While these individuals may not have optic nerve damage or glaucoma right now, that doesn’t mean they cannot develop these issues down the road. Up to 10 million Americans are estimated to suffer from elevated IOP, making them glaucoma suspects, and roughly 1% of these individuals will develop glaucoma.
What Does it Mean if I am an Ocular Hypertensive?
If you are found to have increased IOP, immediate treatment may not be necessary. However, regular eye exams and vigilant monitoring are a must to ensure your condition does not worsen. If treatment is necessary, this is typically done with eye drops to help reduce IOP and the risk of future glaucoma development.
Even after treatment, regular check-ups with your eye-care practitioner – ophthalmologist or optometrist – will be needed to monitor your situation and help prevent any future vision loss.
Glaucoma Treatment in Maryland
The Anne Arundel Eye Center, led by board certified ophthalmologist Dr. Samuel Boles, is a regional leader in the diagnosis and treatment of glaucoma. Staffed by caring and knowledgeable professionals, AAEC’s state-of-the-art treatment center is dedicated to making the best eye care accessible to everyone.
Dr. Boles and the staff at AAEC have helped preserve thousands of patients’ vision. They can help you too.
If you wish to schedule an appointment with Anne Arundel Eye Center (AAEC), please contact Board Certified Ophthalmologist Dr. Samuel Boles, Dr. Kathryn Gurganus Turner, and the eye care specialists here at AAEC by calling 410-224-2010 or Click Here to fill out our contact form.
For more eye care advice and information, please take a look at our previous blog posts.