Glaucoma: The Silent Killer of Eyesight
December 10, 2007
Resident and Staff
Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness in the United States. The 2 main types of glaucoma are open-angle and narrow-angle. Glaucoma damages the optic nerve, typically resulting in loss of peripheral vision, which eventually progresses to involve the central visual field. Because patients with glaucoma are usually asymptomatic, primary care physicians can play a vital role in recognizing this silent cause of blindness. The goal of treatment, which consists of eye drops, laser trabeculoplasty, or surgery, is to lower intraocular pressure. Eye drops are effective but can have local as well as systemic side effects. Early recognition in the primary care setting and timely referral to ophthalmologists can prevent permanent vision loss.